Ryan Shumway | High School Ministry Director
Remember when Elijah was in the presence of God? Unless you have been reading through 1 Kings lately, you may need a memory refresher…
I’m not talking about when he raised the widow’s son from the dead, or prayed for three-and-a-half years that it wouldn’t rain. I’m not even talking about when Elijah was battling the prophets of Baal and they weren’t able to call fire from the sky to consume their sacrifice after an all-day affair of crying out, false worship, and engaging in religious behaviors (of course those efforts didn’t work – after all, Baal isn’t real!), while Elijah prayed a simple prayer of faith and stepped back to watch God display His power. In response, God sent fire from heaven to consume not just the sacrifice but the entire altar, stones and all, and even the ground around the altar.
But I’m not talking about any of that. I am talking about what happened right after all of these events: the encounter described in 1 Kings 19:9-19.
9 There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” 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. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but theLord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 15 And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”1 Kings 19:1-19
We see here that God can call out to us in many ways. He is very capable of “showing up” in big miraculous ways where we say “WOW!” While I love these moments, it’s not the only way that God speaks to us and shows up in our lives. From this account, we see that God also shows up in the quiet, in whispers, or in unexpected ways. I think the cool thing about those whispers from God is that they cause us to really lean in and focus so that we are able to hear what is being said.
I would challenge you to join me this summer, hoping that God shows up in big expected ways, leading us to greater faith and greater peace in our lives and in the lives of those around us. But I also want to encourage you to lean in and really listen to what God has to say. I had a friend who always used to say, “In order to hear the whispers of God, we must be close to Him.”
Use this summer as an opportunity to, hopefully, get out of your normal routine and listen. God may be trying to draw you close to share something with you. He may be trying to restore your spirit like He did with Elijah. He might be calling you to care for and love on a neighbor, family member ,or friend. He may be calling you in to remind you how much He loves you. Perhaps He desires to share a part of His plan for your future or will call you to pour into someone else’s life, like God did for Elijah and Elisha.
No matter what He has for you, I believe that God is calling out to all of us. Sometimes we find Him in a majestic pillar of fire, proving that He is real. Other times, He gives us a mere whisper to remind us of His plans. Let’s head into this summer expecting to hear from God and ready to follow through on what He calls us to.