“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 there 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.” 1 Kings 19:11-13
Have you ever tried having a conversation in a really loud room? You can barely hear your own voice and have to become a lip-reader just to make out what the other person is saying. It’s frustrating when you don’t feel heard and equally frustrating when you can’t hear.
In this passage in 1 Kings 19, the Lord speaks, but He doesn’t speak in an ear-splitting way. He is not in the wind, earthquake, or fire. When God speaks, it is a gentle whisper. In a world that often feels like that noisy room, we find God communicating differently. He doesn’t want His voice blending in with all the other voices. We have to step away from the clamor if we want to hear God because a gentle whisper can only be heard in closeness and quiet.
Take time today to remove yourself from the noise and lean in to listen to the Holy Spirit. If your mind begins to wander, be honest with God. Tell Him about the things that hinder or distract you and ask for His help being still. If hearing God doesn’t come quickly, don’t be discouraged. Prayer and solitude are meant to be lifelong rhythms to cultivate, not New Year’s resolutions that wane. The habit of pulling away from the commotion leads to a close connection with God and clarity that can’t be found in the crowds.
What will help you set the optimal atmosphere today to lean in and listen to God?
God, thank you that you want me to hear your voice. Help me find creative ways each day to pull away from the noise and seek you. I surrender to you all the things that hinder and distract me, and I ask that you help me hear from you with clarity. In Jesus’ name, amen.