"A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains
and shattered the rocks before God,
but God wasn't to be found in the wind;
after the wind an earthquake,
but God wasn't in the earthquake;
and after the earthquake fire,
but God wasn't in the fire;
and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper."
1 Kings 19:11-12 (The Message)
A couple different things struck me when I was reading these verses:
First, God doesn't always show himself in big, attention-getting ways. In fact, he rarely shows himself in these ways. When he speaks to us, it is usually in his still, small voice. It's easy to think God isn't working if we don't see huge, miraculous changes in our lives, but God doesn't always work that way. Sure, he can, but he wants us to be listening for his voice so I believe that's why he chooses to speak to us in whispers more often than not.
We are often looking for God to work wonders for us instead of sitting there listening for his quiet voice to guide us. This reminds me of the story of the man who is in a flood. He climbs to his rooftop to wait for God to rescue him. A man in a boat comes and tells him to climb in and he'd bring him to safety. The man on the roof waves him off and says, "I'm trusting God to rescue me!" Then, a helicopter flies up and they call to him to grab the ladder and they'd fly him to safety. The man declines, again saying, "I'm trusting God to rescue me!" Finally all the rescue efforts are over and the man drowns wondering why God hadn't rescued him. Is that crazy, or what?!
Pay attention for the quiet ways God works in your life. Too many times we don't see them until we look at our past and then see the gentle ways God was working. But, if we take the time to stop and listen for him, we'll see that he is here with us, guiding us in our everyday lives.
The other thing that struck me while reading these verses was that God works even in the midst of turmoil. Everything around us may be going crazy - we may feel like our lives are swirling around like a crazy hurricane or things are falling down around us as if we were in an earthquake - but if we take time to really listen for God's voice, we will hear it. In times of crisis it's so easy to think God isn't there because we can't hear him. But, if we stop and try to drown out the chaos, we might be able to hear his voice. No... we will be able to hear his voice.
Things in my life have been so insanely crazy lately. Today was one horrible day for me. It would have been so easy to not take the time to listen for God and just let my emotions run wild, but I took 30 minutes out of the chaos to go into my bedroom, shut the door, put on my headphones and listen to a meditation I have for healing from grief. During that time, I was able to see Jesus and feel his healing hand on my heart. I was able to allow God to stop the craziness and hear the Lord speak calm into my heart. Did he literally "speak" to me? No, but I felt his still, small voice telling me that everything is going to be ok with me and my family.
Take the time to read God's word and meditate on it - especially when you're going through a hard time. That's when we really need to lean on the Lord and he will be there for us if we go to him. Never stop listening for his gentle and quiet whisper.