God spoke to Moses from a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire. He parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could escape the Egyptians. He brought water from a rock for the thirsty Israelites while they were in the desert. He stopped the waters of the Jordan River so that the Israelites could cross on dry land. Mary had the baby Jesus, but she was a virgin. Jesus turned water into wine. Hearing these stories for as long as I can remember, I grew up looking for a great God to appear in great and unimaginable ways. I bet that for much of my life I missed God’s presence because I was watching for the impossible. But now I know that the secret to the great starts with the small.
1 Kings 19:11-13 captures an account of God revealing Himself to the prophet Elijah. The scripture says this: “Then God said, go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord. And behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.” Elijah was looking for the Lord, and he was told where to find Him. Elijah arrived at that place looking for something great because he had something great going on in his life at the time. An evil person was determined to kill him, so he was looking for something greater than his circumstance. When he heard the wind and saw its destruction, Elijah was sure God was there. But He was not. Like Elijah, we have a lot of stuff going on all around us today. There is a lot of noise, and a great wind strong enough to change the course of our lives blows all around us. But God is not in the wind, nor is He in the difficult circumstances we create in our lives. We must look to find Him elsewhere.
Scripture continues: “And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.” If the wind was not enough, Elijah had to endure the shaking and rumbling of the foundation of the earth right under his feet and the fire that comes with that. Surely, he thought, God would be there. But again, the Lord was not in the earthquake or the fire. We may find ourselves on shaky ground. We may find our foundation unsure, our sources of stability falling away, and everything around us consumed by unquenchable fire. Then we look more intently for the Lord because we know He can match rumblings for rumblings and fire with hotter fire.
So, we believe, when the things around us and under us and over us begin to shake and burn, it must mean the Lord is there. But He is not. God does not rock our shaky foundations with more instability, nor does He fight our fires with more fire. He will wait for us to stop weakening our foundations and throwing fuel on the flames of our lives. If you are looking for God to avenge a wrong done to you, perhaps you should stop looking. God’s ways are not our ways.
After the wind, after the earthquake, and after the fire, there was “a still small voice.” Scripture continues: “So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him and spoke. ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” Elijah answered that he had always been zealous for the things of the Lord, and although he was not perfect, he was still looking for Him and had not turned to other gods. So, what about you and me? Sometimes the difficulties we face seem to be so big that we start looking for God in a big way. But the secret to the big often starts with the small. God will not shout at you, nor will He handcuff your enemies. A small rudder is used to turn a large ship. So it is with God. In the middle of our chaos, He comes to us with a still small voice to see whether we will quiet ourselves so that we can hear what He is asking us.
So, quiet down your life. You may not be able to remove yourself from a current circumstance straight away, but that should not keep you from hearing the Lord’s voice clearly just where you are. He speaks to us in a still small voice, so we must learn to hear the quiet that is always present in the middle of our storms. The miracle of hearing Him does not just come to us in the form of things that are impossible; it comes also in the improbable things that happen in our lives because we learn to listen for His voice in the calm of our lives. If you allow Him to teach you how to listen for Him, He will teach you how to hear Him from wherever you are. Live a Delivered Life. Love you.