Daily D – 1 Kings 19:11-13
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. 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. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 KINGS 19:11-13 (NLT)
“If you want to capture someone’s attention, whisper.”
Nuance perfume ran a commercial with those words in 1980. It is true, if you want to get someone’s attention, a whisper will do it. A few minutes into a movie at a theater that only charged a buck to enter, my bride leaned over and whispered, “This movie is terrible. I want to leave.” That will get your attention.
The movie was made worse by the child who sat behind her and kicked her seat nonstop. Every minute or so his mother would whisper, “Stop.” He did not. Whispers apparently work more effectively on adults than children.
A little boy was behaving appropriately for his age sitting in church. He could not sit still. His uncomfortable shoes made nice clunking sounds when he kicked the pews. His mother worked hard to keep him still and quiet while appearing composed and attentive. When her patience and pretense ran out, she leaned over and whispered, “If you do not sit down, be still, and keep quiet, I am going to beat you!”
Children become megaphones at the most inappropriate moments. The little boy shouted, “You’re going to beat me!”
The poor mom could do nothing but pick up her son and step lively toward the back door. She was prepared to tan his hide until she noticed his dress shirt had come untucked from his pants and his Mickey Mouse underwear poked out of his slacks. She laughed and relaxed. And her son ran freely down the ramp and on to his father’s office where his dad, the preacher, would converse with him regarding his behavior after everyone else was gone.
God put on quite a display for Elijah. He put on a display the whole nation of Israel would remember forever on Mount Carmel as recorded in the previous chapter of this book. Then fire fell from heaven and a three-year drought was broken. In this instance, there was a mighty windstorm, an earthquake, and a fiery blaze. God is almighty. God is powerful. God can do anything. But when he wanted to capture Elijah’s attention, he whispered.
“What are you doing here, Elijah?”
You have doubts, fears, worries, and concerns which rise up and fill your life with anxiety or dread. They are often most intense when you lie down to sleep. They shout and keep you awake. They feel like windstorms, earthquakes, and blazing flames. God still whispers. We can focus on the shouts, or we can answer the whisper.
Our Father in heaven asks gentle questions which draw us into the provision of his mercy and grace. Those questions help us regain our focus. They help us see things from his perspective. They help us plot a new course.
Elijah thought his life was over. He was turning in his resignation. He felt like a dead man walking. Yet most of what we know about him takes place after he heard the whisper, laid bare his feelings, and left the cave. He tried to place a period where God placed a comma.
When it feels like life is over, when you feel like you have no hope, when you have no strength to carry on, listen for the whisper. Everyone and everything shouts these days. God still whispers. You have to lean in to hear a whisper. You have to listen to understand. Everything changes when God whispers.
Lean in. Listen closely. Respond appropriately. This is no dead end. This is a turning point.
I will listen for God’s whisper.
Our Father, please give me ears to hear what you are saying to me. Give me a willing and obedient heart to do what you say. Lead me out of the mess I am in into the preferred future only you could craft. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.