If you remember the story of Elijah, he was the one who stood against all the priests of Baal (gods of a foreign nation). He had challenged them to a spiritual duel and he defeated 450 prophets of Baal and was then threatened by Jezebel (ancient version of wicked witch of the east) – she would take his life for destroying the priests of Baal. Elijah runs off course, and finds refuge in the wilderness by a juniper tree. He even asks God to take his life because he was alone, facing insurmountable enemies, and felt he was not worth saving (1 Kings 19:3-4).
God Responds…but not the way you think…
God responds, interestingly enough, in a unique manner. He does not speak in dramatic fashion as we might suspect or hope that He would respond. Notice what happens. God tells Elijah to go stand in a cave and the Lord passes by the entrance. Four things happen: first, a huge wind tears at the mountain, but we are told specifically that “the Lord was not in the wind” (19; 11). Next, we are told that a severe earthquake occurs; and yet the Lord is not in the earthquake (19:11). Third, a great fire breaks out (somehow), yet the Lord was not in the fire. I assume that God was the cause of those elements but He chose not to reveal Himself or speak through those very dramatic events. Finally, we read that there is a “gentle wind blowing.” Elijah hears it and moves out of the entrance of the cave to see what is going on; we are told that God speaks to him.
How do you want God to speak?
There are many traps to how we would like God to respond to us. We would love to see a sign from God or hear His voice in spectacular and miraculous ways in order to know His leading. We are simply told that when Elijah was alone, hungry, and despairing of life that God came to him and spoke in the midst of his crisis. But God did NOT speak in dramatic, cataclysmic pronouncements. He spoke in the gentle whisper of the wind where Elijah hears something, pursues it, and discovers God (v. 12-13). Notice that God does not immediately tell him what to do but simply asks, “What are you doing here Elijah?”
I don’t know if you are in a situation right now where you feel alone, empty, desperate, even threatened by your circumstances, but God is there. We often want God to speak or act in very dramatic ways to respond to our need. We think the larger our problem, the more dramatic God will show Himself as if to validate our sacrifices, or affirm “all that we have done for the Lord.” But it does not always work that way. Often God simply whispers in our ear and asks the same thing, “What are you doing here?”
Make sure that you are listening for God and not simply waiting for more drama.
In His grace,