After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
This ordeal reminded me of how much “noise” I have in my life-and how sometimes it’s hard to listen to what the Lord might be saying to me because of it. Music, television, and messages left on my voicemail system are among some of the usual distractions. There are people who need my attention throughout the day, from home to work-and all points in between. And even though I got up early this morning for a little devotional time and a chance to do some writing, I could hear the hum of the freeway in the distance, a lawn mower grinding in the neighbor’s yard, and my dogs barking incessantly at something (no doubt the mower wasn’t making them happy either).
So how can you and I find ways to hear what God may be trying to tell us in an often distracting world? Well, let’s take a look at the lessons we can learn from Elijah’s interactions with the Lord in this story from I Kings:
Because of the difficult circumstances Elijah found himself in, he got away and cried out to the Lord. In this conversation, he wasn’t afraid to tell God how he felt-alone and afraid despite all his efforts to serve the Lord. Even though he might have been sidetracked by the wind, earthquake, and fire, Elijah kept alert for the still, small voice that followed that commotion. Let’s see what happened as this story unfolded:
Notice how Elijah virtually repeated his answer to God. He wasn’t afraid to talk honestly with his heavenly Father, and that’s when he finally received the clear message about what to do next. And guess what? That’s exactly what Elijah did: “So Elijah went . . .” (verse 19a).
Here are a few lessons we can take away from this story about someone who loved and served God, yet felt dejected, lonely, and even frightened in the world he found himself in:
- Get away from the “noise” each day so you can spend time with God uninterrupted.
- Don’t be afraid to pray and tell the Lord exactly how you’re feeling.
- Listen for how He may be speaking to you-in the quiet, or even in the rumble of a crowd.
- When you feel He is moving you a certain direction, then move!
Our lives are always going to be busy, so it’s up to us to make time to hear from the Lord. We need Him when things get rough, as they did for Elijah-but we also need His assistance as we move through each and every day. Look for signs of His presence, and, most importantly, keep the communication lines between the two of you open so you can truly hear what He has to say.
Thought of the Month
I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave.
I cried out, “I am slipping!”
but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind,
your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.