I find that one of the most reassuring verses in the Bible is in 1 Kings 19:11-12. “11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces 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; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”
There are times when God tells us He wants us to do something. For Elijah in the above verse, it was the immediate command to go and stand out on the mountain because God was coming. This was after God asked Elijah to confront Ahab and Jezebel, and even after Elijah gave the prophets of Baal a comeuppance, proved their god was a nothing, and had them executed.
Elijah fled for his life and was hiding in a cave. To come out and expose himself on the side of the mountain surely wasn’t on the top of his to-do list, but he did it.
And then what?
A strong wind, rocks falling and breaking around him, an earthquake, and then, of course, a fire. As if the prior few days of running for his life weren’t enough, Elijah had to face the fear of the world trying to swallow him whole, burning him with fire on his way down, to boot.
It was that still small voice.
The verse makes it clear that although the Lord called Elijah out to stand on that ledge, threatened to be devoured by the elements and circumstances surrounding him, Elijah remained and waited because the Lord wasn’t found in the wind, the earthquake, nor the fire. No, just that still small voice.
You may be a writer who feels that God has called you out, asked you to put yourself out there and stand on the mountain ledge. Soon the rejections come, the critics, or the lack of sales. But God isn’t there in those messes and monstrosities, is He? And you’re still standing there, right? Waiting.
Maybe a week, a month, even a year goes by and you’re still there on that ledge, waiting for God to show up, just like He said He would. And you do it because deep down inside, in the parts of you that don’t move even if your hands are shaking like a leaf, you know that God called you out for a reason and by goodness, you know, you just know, it wasn’t to be blasted by the elements, the rejections, the critics, and then hear nothing.
No, it’s for that still small voice.
Unlike Elijah, we don’t have the privilege of seeing God float by us, atop Mount Horeb. What we do have is the gift of others, giving us those little boosts, those tender nudges, those reassurances that we’re doing something good and wonderful and meaningful, even if it only resonates with one fan at a time.
We don’t always get the answers and specifics we crave, but if we’re faithful to follow the path we should be on, I’m confident that God will always follow behind the fire, letting us hear that still small voice in the encouragement of others.
What has encouraged you when it’s difficult hearing God’s voice?