The Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
(1 Kings 19:9-13)
When Elijah fled to Mount Sinai—a journey of over two hundred miles—he was returning to the sacred place where God had met Moses and had given his laws to the people. Elijah thought he was the only person left who was still true to God. He had seen the king’s court and the priesthood become corrupt. Lonely and discouraged, he forgot that others had remained faithful during the nation’s wickedness.
But more than just a reminder of others who served God, Elijah needed to hear from God himself. Elijah knew that the sound of a gentle whisper was God’s voice. He realized that God doesn’t reveal himself only in powerful, miraculous ways like the fire on Mount Carmel. Yet at that point Elijah needed a gentle reassurance of God’s comforting presence. Hearing from God gave him new strength to pursue his mission.
To look for God only in something big (rallies, churches, conferences, highly visible leaders) may be to miss him because he is often found gently whispering in the quietness of a humbled heart. Are you listening for God? Step back from the noise and activity of your busy life and listen humbly and quietly for his guidance. It may come when you least expect it.