6 September 2023
Be still and listen
And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19: 12
Does life overwhelm you? So many things can happen – all kinds of things – that they knock you flat. You wonder when they will stop. Can medicine never be a quiet life?
Elijah was a great man of God, but when Jezebel put him on her death list, he gave up. Instead of seeking God’s will for his life, he asked God to let him die. At first God treated him gently and strengthened him. He came to Horeb, where he took refuge in a cave and then gave way to another bout of self-pity. This time God was not so gentle. Elijah needed to be reminded of the power of God. The earthquake and fire must have been terrifying, but Elijah had to learn the hard way. The demonstration of God’s power was effective. Elijah was now ready for something different – ‘after the fire came a gentle whisper’.
Elijah is now really listening, and could hear what God was saying. Once communication has been restored confidence can also be restored. Sometimes, when we think we have had enough, God may treat us gently, and we accept the relief with gratitude. But we still may not really have been listening. Selfpity can induce severe spiritual deafness. God may need to give us shock treatment, as he did to Elijah.
The rough experience can make us ask, ‘Where is the God of love?’ We may need to realise that Love is shouting at us. Only when we are ready to listen comes the still small voice, the voice of stillness. And in that stillness, God reaches us. ‘Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, … you will find rest for your souls.’ (Matthew 11: 28–29)
Read: 1 Kings 19: 1–21; Matthew 11: 25–30.
(Adapted from The Doctor’s Life Support 1994)