The presence of a great wind, an earthquake, or a fire could and had been known to signal the presence of God. After reading the stories of Noah, Moses and the burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, and Elijah going up against the prophets of Baal, one might come to believe that God is only seen in the spectacular. Often in our lives we expect God to show up in dramatic ways. We feel that there's no way that God can use ordinary people like us because we see Him as a God who shows up in great and mighty ways.
But God doesn't always make His presence known in the spectacular. In fact, more often than not, God makes Himself known in a still small voice. God had shown Himself to Elijah in many ways. He called him to go in boldness before King Ahab. He provided him water from a brook and food from ravens. He had shown him continued provision through the widow's endless supply of flour and oil. God had shown him His power through raising the widow's son from death. He had even granted Elijah victory on Mount Carmel by causing fire to fall upon the altar defeating the prophets of Baal.
No doubt Elijah knew that God was real, and had faith in what God could do. But even after a mighty victory on Mount Carmel after boldly going up against 850 prophets, Elijah found himself feeling alone and afraid because of the threat of a woman. He has ran to Horeb, better known as Mount Sinai, the "mountain of God", and hid in a cave. This man who had so much passion for serving God found himself hiding in fear and feeling alone.
How many times are we just like Elijah? We have witnessed miracles, seen God's power displayed in our lives, or stood in victory through following Him in a tough time. Suddenly we get bad news or something happens out of our control and we immediately forget everything we know to be true and run to hide? While we are cowered in fear, we pray that God will provide a miracle or show up in a big way to defeat the giant that we are facing. How many times do we feel like we are the only ones hurting and that we are alone in our pain?
This great prophet who had stood boldly for God risking everything, including his life, still had a lesson to learn. God was teaching him that He is not just in the spectacular. Often God works quietly. He doesn't have to speak through thunder or an earthquake, but can more often be experienced through a still small voice. God also would show Elijah that he wasn't the only person who was at work for Him. Elijah could only see himself and the situation he now found himself facing. He felt like he was alone on this mission for God. But God would show Elijah that He still had 7,000 in Israel who served Him.
So many times in the last year of my life, I have found myself feeling alone and afraid. I have seen God work in mighty ways, even with miracles. I have even witnessed His still small voice many times in my life, and yet I get so absorbed in the sounds of the storm that I fail to listen for it. Sometimes I wait for God to move with a great earthquake, or a fire in my life, and almost miss it when He speaks in that same still small voice that Elijah heard.
We all are like Elijah. We all need to be reminded that God wants a personal relationship. He isn't about putting on shows for big crowds of people, although He can and He has. He is not far away and only active in the spectacular. He is a God who wants a personal relationship with each of His children.
I am amazed when I see God act through a miracle or allow he unexplainable to happen. I enjoy seeing Him move in a church service. But my favorite experiences with God is when I hear that still small voice. The knowledge that the God who created everything wants an intimate relationship with me. The feeling that He takes the time to see my tears and hear my prayers, and that He leans in close to whisper sweet peace to me. To me, that is spectacular.