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.
1 Kings 19:11-13
A Soothing Sound of Grace
At some point, we all struggle with our identity. We doubt our purpose. When God’s plans for us are puzzling, we question our relationship with him. Why does God seem far away and silent?
Elijah felt a similar doubt and discouragement. One of God’s Old Testament prophets, Elijah, had proven that the day’s popular idol, Baal, was a false god. But the people didn’t listen to Elijah. And when the queen put a price on Elijah’s head, he had to flee for his life. His faith was shaken. God seemed silent and far away.
So, Elijah confronted God. And God answered in a surprising way. He wasn’t in the violent wind, earthquake, or raging fire. He revealed himself in a gentle whisper. With that soothing sound of grace, God quieted Elijah’s doubts. Elijah wasn’t alone. He couldn’t see it, but through his work, God had preserved seven thousand who remained faithful. Everything was happening according to God’s good plan and purpose.
God still answers our doubts in the same way. Not with great signs and wonders, but with the soothing sound of grace in the Good News about Jesus. In Jesus, we find that we are free from the punishment our sins deserve. In Jesus, we find that God’s plan for us includes the glorious inheritance of heaven. In Jesus, we find our purpose, to declare God’s praises wherever he plants us.
Are you frustrated with your place and purpose in life? Is your faith in God shaken? Remember this simple truth: God is not silent. He is not far away. He is near you with his grace.
Dear Jesus, when I am troubled, quiet my heart to hear your gentle grace and to listen. Amen.