Listening for the Gentle Whispers of the Spirit
“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.12 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.” 1 Kings 19:11b-12
We want to find God in the spectacular, in demonstrations of power or great and miraculous events. This is particularly true when we are facing challenges or struggling with difficulties. “Lord, show me a sign that you are here!” We look for some kind of demonstration of God’s power and presence with us in the extraordinary: miraculous healings, supernatural occurrences, dramatic experiences. But more often, God speaks to us through the ordinary and everyday experiences of life. It’s been estimated that we take between 23,000 to 26,000 breaths a day. Most of the time we are completely unaware that we are breathing. We just don’t think about it. But we are breathing constantly. We couldn’t live without breath. The Hebrew word for “Spirit” is the same word for “breath”, ruah (ROO-AAHK, Genesis 1:2b). Most of the time we are unaware of the presence of God’s Spirit with us. But this doesn’t mean that the Spirit isn’t present. Simply that we are unaware of the Spirit’s presence.
As Elijah learned, the Spirit of God speaks to us through a gentle whisper rather than the hurricane, earthquake or conflagration. But how do we hear that gentle whisper when we are living in a hurricane? How do we hear God’s calming voice in our chaos? How do we hear the breath of God in the babble of news flashes and streaming social media? In short, how do we hear God’s quiet voice in the cacophony of the noise that inundates us?
We have to find a time and place of quietness if we are going to be able to hear God’s gentle, calming voice. While social distancing has created many difficulties for us it has also created some unexpected opportunities: quietness and isolation to be alone with God and listen for God’s gentle, quiet voice. Have you taken advantage of these opportunities?
I want to invite you to take advantage of this time to spend some moments alone with God. Find that time in your day where you can be completely alone with God and listen for the voice of the Spirit of Christ speaking to your heart. Let the calming voice of Christ calm your fears and anxieties even as he once calmed the storms on the sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-27).
Heavenly Father, help us to find that quiet place and time in our day to listen for your calming voice in these turbulent times. Speak your comforting peace and calm the storms of fear and anxiety in our hearts today. In Jesus name. Amen
Questions for Reflection
• What is that time and where is that place of quietness I can go and be alone with God?
• How much time am I spending listening to the threatening sounds of the world in comparison to the calming voice of Jesus?
• As we are alone with God are we speaking more than listening?
• What is gentle, calming message is Christ speaking to you today?