Updated on October 2, 2012
originally posted November 27, 2010
“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ 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 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 and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?'” –I Kings 19:11-13
Where is the Lord? Where can we find Him?
What strikes me about the passage above is not that the Lord was found in the whisper. It is a familiar story. What strikes me tonight is Elijah. He didn’t cover his face until he heard the whisper. He did not react to the shattering winds, the earthquake, or fire. If he had, he would not have heard the whisper.
He did not cover his face in the presence of natural disaster. He instead waited for the presence of God and then covered his face.
He knew not to be phased by the seeming chaos around him. So focused on the presence of God, the first words out of his mouth were not, “What was that all about?” or “Really? Did we need all that? Why couldn’t You have just come?”
Instead, his reaction was to cover his face.
Rather than hiding from the wind, earthquake, and fire, Elijah instead, hid his unholiness from the presence of God. We would be wise to do the same.
Rather than huddle in fear of seeming chaos while blatantly challenging the Creator of the universe, maybe, just maybe, our reality should be more focused on His holiness and less focused on everything else.
Calm enough to hear the whisper, aware enough to hide our wretchedness. This is the humility that comes from God.
photo by Kathy Zoetewey