If only God would just do something to show me that He is there!
If only there were a sign!
I have had these thoughts many times, mostly due to the fact that I am the most indecisive person that I know. Seriously, I get panicky at the smallest decisions! Other times, I say these things because in that moment, it’s easier than actually facing a hard truth.
Elijah had a difficult mission. He was called to minister to people who would not listen to his message to repent from their sin. And over time, as you can imagine, he got frustrated with the work, death threats, and destruction of God’s temple.
And when he couldn’t take it anymore, Elijah threw in the towel. He tapped out because he felt alone in his crusade to save the world with the Gospel.
In 1 Kings 19: 9-18, God appears to Elijah to set him straight. Elijah hides out in a cave after fleeing his ministry post in Israel. Soon thereafter, God calls him out of his hiding spot.
11 … 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. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
If I had to guess, each of these events – a great wind, an earthquake, a fire bursting out of nowhere – seem like great ways to make an entrance. They serve both to frighten and to humble. But God chooses to show Himself in another way…
And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.
In college, I knew of a group of people who got involved with a ministry that ‘specializes’ in the supernatural movement of the Holy Spirit. They lived off of the ‘spiritual highs’ of conferences and worship services where there were professed healings, prophesy, and speaking in tongues. At each of their gatherings, they proclaimed the presence of God.
In retrospect, I would say that the ministry was a bust. Prophesies were wrong. Healing was the magical work of common medicines. Addictions briefly subsided only to return shortly thereafter. And though there may have been a few authentic breakthroughs here and there, many more attendees eventually became disenchanted with the ministry and wound up walking away from the Church.
That being said, not all Charismatic ministries are erroneous. Seeking Christ through worshiping Him corporately is a primary aspect of our walk. However, we would be deeply foolish to only chase after these ‘spiritual highs’ and neglect growing deeper in our relationship with Him on our own.
When we run to the miracles, the signs, the wonders, we risk completely missing Christ and it’s likely that we will become disappointed or discouraged.
Matthew Henry says, “Faith comes by hearing the word of God; miracles do but make way for it.” Miracles are not proofs of God. They are not where God resides. Instead they serve to grab our attention. When they happen, they are His opening act.
So, why I don’t hear God’s low whisper?
- I keep looking for the big booming voice to come from the sky.
- “I’m the only one” victim mentality, disallowing any other voice besides my own
(This was Elijah’s issue – See 1 Kings 19:10).
- I make assumptions of God’s character based on subjective opinion rather than objective truth.
- I don’t search the Scriptures or spend any worthwhile time in prayer.
Here’s the thing. If my soul is not quiet, I will likely miss what God has to say to me. And if I fill my life with distractions, it becomes difficult to be quiet. Furthermore, being in the presence of God is terrifying (look at 1 Kings 19:13) because His presence always reveals our sinful hearts and requires change.
Elaine says, “Prayer. Quiet time. Studying the Word. By making these disciplines part of our daily lives, we will know His voice more intimately.” Then we will be able to hear the sound of His low whisper, as Elijah did.
Later in the chapter, Elijah obeyed what God told him to do. Interestingly, it wasn’t because of those earth-shattering signs of God’s presence. It was God’s quiet voice that changed Elijah’s heart.
God’s visit to Elijah was a foreshadowing of what was to come. Hundreds of years later, after Elijah completed his task and God took him to heaven, God called out to His people through John The Baptizer that His Presence was coming. Again, He did not ride in on the wind, rock the world with an earthquake, or walk on fire. He came with a small voice of a baby.
See You In The Round!
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."