How to Hear God When He is Silent
And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. 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. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (2 Kings)
Sometimes God can be find in our moments of great fear. Those times when the covers are hiding our face and our tears are soaking the pillow and our heart is broken in a thousand pieces at 2pm in the afternoon for no reason at all. Those moments when fear overcomes our reasoning, our passions, our minds, those moments find us in a cloud of misery and drowning in the invisible fears.
God is found in the lowest of valleys and the highest of mountains. The times of joy which surpass all of our wildest imaginations. The coming of our children, whether by adoption or birth – the time our heart leap with joy at the sight of the one we love. The deepest joy is also a place to find God.
God is not in the wind, the storm, the earthquake most days. In fact, God is mostly found in the normal days. (Psalm 46:1)The whisper. The place in our hearts where we neglect. A blue ski with white clouds and a green tree in the foreshadows. The yellow leaves of the fall and the wispy rain of spring. In the orchids on my window’s ledge about my kitchen sink, the comfy socks I put on when I’m home for the day on Saturday, and the smell of coffee in the morning. God is in those whisper, glorious ordinary moments.
When Elijah found God, he was at his lowest of lows. He had wanted to die only days before. An angel of God had to get him up, give him food, and encourage him two times to eat. So when Elijah traveled 40 days further into the wilderness, God met him on a mountain.
On the place of complete isolation, God showed Elijah two things:
1. God was in the smallest details.
2. Elijah was not alone.
You see, Elijah’s depression and sadness ultimately stemmed from what he says in verse 10:
So he [Elijah] said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life. I Kings 19:10 (emphasis mine)
He was alone, or so he thought. Being disconnected from community took its toll on him. Early this summer I found God was calling me out to developing community and connection. I’ve bulked about it – thinking I can put it off. But subtle hints have reminded me: I need to be intentional when it comes to community and connection. I must be discerning and wise, but also intentional.
So after God told Elijah – hey, I’m here. He also told Elijah to connect with others. He gave him three kings to anoint and another prophet to find. God also told him about 7,000 people who had still not bowed down to the idols in Judah and Israel. Elijah was not alone. You are not alone.
Stop and be still, and you will find God is in the whisper, not the wind & storm. God is in the normal, connecting moments of community. So how do we find God’s voice in the middle of the silence?
1. Elijah slept. Sometimes rest is the first thing we can do to slow down our mind and erase the loud voices crowding for space in our brains. How can you find physical rest today?
2. Elijah ate. Physical health is just as important as spiritual health. Sometimes they are tied together. What can you do to improve your physical health today?
3. Elijah went out alone. A wilderness is sometimes an analogy in the Bible for something hard, or difficult. A season of hardship. However, wilderness here I think is just a physical quiet place. Where can you find physical silence in your life?
4. Elijah sought community. The truth was, he wasn’t alone. So seeking out community, intentional will allow us to hear God’s voice. Where can you intentionally find good community?
Today I lingered in the shower longer because it was a slow day and we had no where to go. Sometimes I will go outside and check on my chickens. It is just a few minutes of leaving my kids inside, but I can experience quiet there.
Be still before God. Let Him speak to your heart through His Word. Truth can be the loudest voice. Let truth speak, even if it seems God is silent.