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. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
~1 Kings 19:11-13
I am not, myself, naturally filled with physical toughness or mental courage. You know that saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going?” Well, my version of that saying is “When the going gets tough, the tough get a pint of Rocky Road and curl up in a ball.” I admire those, like my hubby, who are compelled to run toward danger and face it head-on. Through him, I have learned that I can only wallow in my self-pity for a day or two, and then it’s time to get back to it and move forward.
In fact, if I have any courage or perseverance, it’s all Jesus. My old self was a quitter. I have a looong list of classes, projects, careers and honors that did NOT get completed because it got too challenging or scary. In fact, I often joke that Christianity is the only thing I ever tried that I never quit. Since Jesus, there has been much less quitting and giving up, but it’s been a process.
What is it that keeps you going? When I’m at the end of my rope and everything in me wants to just quit or run away, it is usually a little voice in my head that keeps me going. It’s never my own voice. It’s usually God’s Word, or my hubby, or one of my church friends’ voices, mostly encouraging me, occasionally warning me, and sometimes scolding me. I’m grateful for those voices because they are the voices of Truth. And it is usually the voices of lies and deception that are begging me to throw in the towel.
Looking at the verse above, we see that God was not in the big, loud, attention-grabbing events of wind, earthquake or fire. He spoke in a still, small voice. I remembered this part of the story, but I had forgotten what brought Elijah to the mountain in the first place. Perhaps you have too:
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” ~1 Kings 19:3-4
This is very interesting. God sent His man on a mission. It was a challenge, and then it became overwhelming, and the great prophet ran away, quit and prayed to die. This I can relate to. Not being a mighty prophet of God hunted down by a wicked king, but certainly the calling it quits part. And searching back in my own life story I realized that when I was at a very low point, when the problems that I had created all loomed like giants, when I was thoroughly exhausted and ready to quit, in desperation, I cried out to the God I had denied for so many years. And I heard that still, small voice.
It is easy to focus on the big, loud, scary events in life. The wind, the fire, the earthquakes – they threaten to destroy us, they demand immediate attention, they raise blood pressure and adrenaline levels. Panic fills up our hearts and minds leaving no room for anything else. But God…. God is the still, small voice. Similarly, Jesus showed us that He can calm the storm with just a word. And God asks, “What are you doing here?” and “Do you still have such little faith?”
He gave us a job to do, but it got overwhelming, and we forgot that “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31. We let the fears of this world drown out the voice of our Creator and Savior and all His many promises to us.
We need to keep adjusting the dial on our spiritual radios to tune out the big, loud stations and tune in to the frequency of God’s still, small whisper. We need to tuck all those wonderful words of life into our hearts and heads on a continuous loop so that when big, focus-stealing things come (like COVID, like political intrigue, like violent crime, like racial tensions, like natural disasters, like heath crises, like breakdowns and break-ups, like the stress of uncertainty) we won’t be tempted to listen to the lies that shout at us to give up and quit. Instead, the voice in our head will be the voice of God, the voice of Truth, reminding us that “with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26