“And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”” 1 Kings 19:11-13
There were many times in the Israel’s history when God needed to be fire, or an earthquake, or a mighty wind. Even for Elijah, a chapter earlier God showed up in a consuming fire and defeated the prophets of Baal. There is no mistake that God is a mighty and powerful God, capable of far greater destruction and force than any natural thing we know. But in this instant, when Elijah had lost all hope and passion, God chose instead of displaying his power and might, to comfort Elijah with a whisper. It was exactly what Elijah needed to be restored. What I love about this story is that it is a story that you can’t just make up. It makes sense for God to show up in a fire, or an earthquake, or a hurricane, or a whirlwind, but to show up in a low whisper, there is seemingly no drama that it brings. Which is why this can’t just be made up. No one, when they think about God, thinks of Him as a God who whispers. But God does speak in both the powerful and the subtle, he is both the conqueror and the comforter, the lion and the lamb. There are many times when I get to the end of my passion or patience, when I find myself increasingly cynical about life and ministry, and all I can think of is how much easier life would be if the fire of God’s word weren’t burning inside me. In those moments of darkness, I praise God that He is willing to whisper me back to a passionate devotion to him. I praise him that he not only conquered my sin, but comforts my weakness. Our God is a God who both shouts and whispers, and he knows which one we need.
Lord Jesus, meet us in or need and draw us gently back to the pastures of your grace. We long for you in our hopeless and tireless struggles and know that you will bring us comfort!