Oh, poor Elijah, just off of one of the most epic tales from Scripture that I remember from my youth. In chapter 18 there is a contest between, Jezebel’s priests of Baal, and Elijah and the Lord. I am not going to recount it here you can read it yourself, but suffice it to say, God wins, and the people respond by taking the priests of Baal and killing them.
So, Jezebel is really irked, and she wants Elijah dead by “this time tomorrow.” This of course freaks Elijah out and he is scared so he literally he runs for his life. Out in the wilderness sitting under a solitary broom tree, Elijah sulks and asks that the Lord take him now, put him out of his misery. But the Lord sends an angel and provides for him and tells him he wants a face to face meeting.
That is where our reading starts today. Elijah is up on the mountain waiting, first there is a great wind, but the Lord is not in the wind, then there is an earthquake, but the Lord is not in the quake, then a fire, but the Lord wasn’t in the fire either. Then there comes the sound of sheer silence, Elijah covers his face and meets the Lord there.
Often when we think of meeting God, we may think of scenes from a Michael Bay movie: big, and flashy, with lots of explosions and an epic sound track. But it is in the sheer silence, that God comes with a message of hope for Elijah.
In the light of the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, stretching from Haiti to the Eastern seaboard of the United States, people look for God in that storm, and may ask why and grumble, rightfully, like Elijah. But I think they are looking in the wrong place. For God was not in the storm, but God is there in the still silence of a consoling hug, in the gentle scraping sound of a volunteer mucking out a basement. God is there as one person hands another a sandwich and a bottle of water. God will continue to be there in the small, often silent actions of grace, mercy and compassion.
How often do we seek God in those moments, how often to we take time to listen for God in the silence? I think we get so distracted by the noise, and furry of life that we don’t take the time to listen, to see, and to notice God in the still small silences. Take some time, quiet yourself, and listen, for God is there and he’d like to have a little chat.