Monday, August 24, 2009

The Whisper in the Rubble

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Elijah - Elijah probably had one of the hardest vocation in the world - prophet in a society that really didn't like him. Elijah, hunted by Jezebel, flees to the desert and cries out to God in the middle of his pain and human anguish. God, watching out for his beloved and chosen feeds him, then takes him to the mountain. This is what transpires:

1 Kings 19:11-13
"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face."
Much has been written about the significance of God's whisper here, and I have mulled this over a lot when I have been seeking to follow God's will. I am guilty of searching for the earthquake, the fire, the whipping wind. I want God to have giant flashing bulbs and arrows point in the direction I need to go, but it doesn't usually work like that. Sometimes God's silence is the answer.

To write candidly, this year has been the first time in my life that there has been a very clear silence from God. It was terrifying. It lasted for what seemed like forever. I searched and searched for his ever-present quiet whisper, those gentle nudges. I wish I would have found this passage earlier, because I would have known what would have come next - a conversation with God and the sweet relief of direction. (oh, but it's so hard to GO in that direction sometime! A whole 'nother post can be written on that!)

So - back to the story. God was there, quite after the violently whipping wind, earthquake and fire. Elijah, knowing better to look at God, pulled his cloak over his face and had a little conversation with God that went something like this:

Elijah: "God! What should I do?"
(paraphrasing mine.)
God: Go find these people and tell them what they need to do! I'll make it work!
And guess what - Elijah, the hunted, the hated, the divinely inspired, went down off the mountain where he had known fire and wind and movement and then finally, peace. He did what he was told to do, and God watched this, blessed him, and continued his presence in Elijah's life.

Photo by SLworking2

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