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Jul 15, 2018

Elijah

Elijah

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Sacred Characters

Category: Faith

Keywords: confusion, elijah, grace, healing, hope, nudge, signs

Scripture

The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, 'What are you doing here Elijah?"

Devotional

I've been praying for a long, long time. I've prayed as a young girl, as a confused teenager, and as an even more confused full-fledged grown-up. I've waited upon the Lord, begged for grace, pleaded for answers, and stormed heaven for healing of family and friends. To this day, I've yet to see a lightening strike or a parting of the clouds with a sign from God. I've never woken from a prophetic dream or heard a distinct booming voice in my ear knowing in an instant that it was Him. I think we all want to hear from the Lord in a way that is loud and magnificent. I'm still holding out hope that this will happen for me some day and I don't doubt it can. Sure would be cool.

Still though, based on this scripture and based on my own personal experience, I know that despite the lack of a grand miraculous event, I have absolutely heard from Him. And every single time I would describe it as a gentle, yet persistent nudging. I have not heard a loud declaration from Him in an instant, but in a series of small moments of a quiet voice over time. I can look back over a period - sometimes months, sometimes weeks, sometimes hours - and realize that He was there giving me direction, hope, clarity and often times conviction all along. And then at once, I put them all together and know what He wants to say to me.

The thing is that the revelation that He has been speaking all along only comes when I am being consistently intentional about my relationship with Him. When I'm multi-tasking and checking off lists and scrolling Instagram and turning completely inward to my schedule and my agenda and even my laundry list of prayer requests, He might be speaking, but I will not hear Him.

To hear someone speak in a whisper, we must be in relationship. We aren't generally in near enough proximity to someone to hear them if we don't know them well. It is quite unlikely that a stranger will lean down close to our ear and whisper advice or comfort to us. We must have trust and familiarity. If we aren't willing to work on the personal relationship with Jesus, to truly spend time with our mouths shut and our phones turned off and our hearts open, there simply won't be connection and we won't hear a thing.

I've been in that place many times. I've let my focus on a relationship with Him slide and then gotten frustrated when I didn't feel His presence. Fortunately, the Lord is ever present and patient and He will never give up on us. He will find us wherever we are when our heart is open. So, don't imagine that He only speaks through loud flashes of light or the booming voice in the clouds. He can whisper to you in a quiet space in your house, when you're leaning against the fence down the 3rd base line at a ball game, when you're drying your hair or when you're stuck in traffic. Be persistent in seeking Him and do so with your heart open. Lean in close to hear His still, small voice and be patient. He won't disappoint.

Prayer

Holy Lord. Thank you for waiting for us. Help us to limit the distractions of this world so that we might build a relationship with you. Thank you that we have the privilege and the honor to hear your still, small voice meant just for us. Amen.

Written by Jennifer Skinner, member of Arcola Church and a Texan (Texas Longhorn to be specific!) living in beautiful Virginia with her very patient, funny husband, and three very impatient, funny boys/ball players. She is also a blogger, The View From Behind Home Plate, who writes about finding extraordinary grace and blessings among the cleats and dirt and testosterone that fill her ordinary days.