“Let us be silent, so that we may hear the whisper of God” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“His voice is the whisper after the noise” (Kalley Heiligenthal)
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.”
(1 Kings 19:11-12)
For Elijah, God was not to be found in the noise – the noise of the wind, the earthquake or the fire. God was found in the gentle whisper. Elijah expected to find Him in the noise. He was on the mountain where God had appeared with thunder and lightening to give the Ten commandments to Moses. This time God was not in the noise but in the quiet. What Elijah needed most was not a dramatic display of God’s power and might but encouragement and strength through a quiet conversation with God.
After the noise of our day God is waiting to be heard. His voice is still that gentle whisper, that still small voice. Our life may be jammed packed with noisy days and noisy distractions but when we step aside from the noise to soak and rest in His presence, we will hear Him. When we quieten our soul we can create a space that lets us hear His whisper. And we find that the peace of God comes. The peace that calms our anxieties, dispels our fears and stills our busy soul. We receive encouragement and wisdom to keep going.
A whisper is an invitation to lean in, to draw near. It is intimate and private. It creates a secret space – a sacred space. In quiet awe, in private communion our weary soul finds rest and refreshment. The soul takes to heart the call of God to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
“Make time for quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud.” (Unknown)
She’s crying. A beloved brother dead. Lazarus buried. Grief overwhelms. But there is hope. A conversation with Jesus. He is the Resurrection and the Life. The revelation settles in her heart and faith is stirred. She believes. A miracle awaits.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:21-27)
Yet somehow, so quickly, after the word – the promise from Jesus, the faith, the hope is gone again. Her eyes are not on Jesus, but on the tomb. She sees the physical evidence that her brother is dead. The facts that say it’s over. The stench, the dead body overwhelms. Tears come. Grief returns.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.” (John 11:39)
A tomb is not the place for miracles.
Or is it?
Sometimes we are in no man’s land. Between the word and its fulfilment. Our faith wavers. Our eyes are pulled towards the physical, the natural realm and our perceived reality of truth. We see our impossible situation. Our dreams, our hopes are dead. We take our eyes off Jesus and see the storm, the waves, we see the earthly reality. Our faith shatters. We can see only the tomb. Our feet slip beneath the waves.
We lose sight of our promised miracle and our answer to prayer. We lose sight of Jesus.
But God is faithful and true to His promises.
“For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God by us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)
Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. (John 11:43-44)
Soon there would be another tomb. And soon another Resurrection. And this one would eternally prove that Jesus, the tomb raider, is the Risen Lord. He can breathe life on our dead dreams, restore and heal. He can give us hope where we had none. And He can give us life when we think there is only death.
A few days to spend in the Italian city of Florence. Enough time to wander off the popular tourist routes. Time to linger and to discover. To happen upon the gardens of a beautiful villa giving respite from the heat. I also found myself down a narrow cobbled street with a beautiful pottery shop. Gorgeous handmade Tuscan espresso cups. Years on and I still derive joy from them. Each time they’re used I am reminded of my time in Florence – the heat of the Tuscan sun, the food, the architecture and the art. I’m reminded of how much I enjoyed the birthplace of the Renaissance. My espresso cups are prompts to remember a special time.
In my Bible are many verses that have been highlighted. Favourite ones, key ones. But also ones discovered when I have lingered over my Bible reading. When I have followed my heart and seen where it leads. A cross reference, a particular word has resulted in a journey within the pages of my Bible. And then a discovery – a verse that speaks to me, answers a prayer, strengthens me for a situation and encourages my heart. Today as I read my Bible these verses shine out and I am taken back to that moment of first discovery. And now I have the joy of adding on new revelation to the verse, adding more to my testimony.
Sometimes in life, detours take us to treasured discoveries.