Saturday, August 27, 2011

The LORD was not in the earthquake

The events of this week brought to mind one of my favorite Old Testament stories:

"Then the LORD said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave." (1 Kings 19:11-13)

This story reminds us of a very important truth: God doesn't normally speak through major events like earthquakes or hurricanes; he usually whispers, or as this translation says, speaks in "a light silent sound." Of course, He is God, so He can do whatever He wants. But generally, He prefers to speak in silence. But why would He prefer this? It seems that it would be better to speak loudly so everyone would hear Him. However, I think that is precisely why He doesn't speak loudly. God wants one thing above all: for each one of us to be close to Him. If a person is shouting, the natural reaction is to step back, away from them. But if someone whispers, we must come close to them to hear it. So if God wants to draw us closer to Him, it is better for Him to whisper-He only shouts when we won't listen to His whispers. If you want to hear God's voice, then spend some time in silent prayer. Take 15 minutes, an hour, whatever you can manage, and just listen for God's voice. I have found that it is helpful to listen to this song at the beginning of this time of silent prayer.

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