Who enjoys being awakened by a loud voice? No one. We tiptoe around sleeping babies and would never think of banging pots and pans next to their cribs during nap time. Noise of any kind is usually annoying and disruptive. How much more effective it is to wake a sleeping child with soft music or a whisper.
Sometimes I am desperate to hear what the Lord is thinking about a situation. I pray and pray and pray some more, but all I hear is silence. It’s as if my prayers dribble out of my mouth, onto the floor. There are many reasons why prayers aren’t answered and why the Lord is silent, but the challenge is to keep praying, whether He answers on our time schedule or not because He is listening.
Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to You, David said, when he was overwhelmed with problems in Psalm 102:2 (NLT). But could he hear God above the noise of his troubled soul? I’ve never been good at lip-reading, like when my grandchildren mouth something to me from across the room. I don't understand their silent words. I need volume. David wanted volume.
Elijah was pushed to the limit when fear of wicked Queen Jezebel drove him to flee into a cave to escape being killed by her. When the Lord asked him what he was doing in there, Elijah blurted out that after serving God so zealously, he was the only prophet left who had not been killed by Jezebel’s men. Surely his time was up. The Lord told him to get out of the cave and stand before Him on the mountain, and the Lord passed by him (1 Kings 19:11 NLT). Wow. There stood Elijah, an open target for Jezebel’s army, but God, Himself, passed right by him. Could there be a stronger defense against an enemy?
Knees knocking and heart pounding, Elijah was probably having the worst panic attack of his life as the awesome power of God Almighty passed by him, while his killers were hot on his trail! Talk to me! Talk to me! Elijah was probably thinking, What are You doing, God??? But there really was no time to think, because a fierce windstorm hit the mountain at that time so that rocks were torn loose. God said nothing. If that wasn’t scary enough, an earthquake ripped through the mountain after the windstorm. God said nothing. Elijah remained outside, on the mountain, waiting for the Lord to speak. The horrifying finale to this stupendous display of power was a fire that swept over the mountain. God said nothing.
But then something amazing happened. After the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper, we’re told in 1 Kings 19:12 (NLT). "What are you doing here, Elijah?" the Lord asked him again (1 Kings 19:13). Elijah repeated his plight to the Lord and his terror of being killed. The Lord continued talking to him and gave detailed instructions of where to go and what to do, and so provided a way of escape.
Windstorm, rocks flying around, earthquake, fire—sounds like pots and pans banging to me, but all that noise was not needed for the Lord to speak. Just a whisper, a gentle whisper, at that. And so He speaks to us like that, too…gently, in the deepest part of our heart. Another Bible translation calls it His still, small voice. Wait for it. Stand right on your mountain of trouble, as your enemies surround you, and wait for the noise to quiet down.
Psalm 23:5 says You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies. Right there on the mountain, in the midst of all the turmoil, He speaks in a gentle whisper. As He passes by you today, may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace (Numbers 6:26).
© 2023, Chris Werre