As the Lord approached, a very powerful wind tore the mountains apart. It broke up the rocks. But the Lord wasn’t in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire came. But the Lord wasn’t in the fire. And after the fire there was only a gentle whisper… Then a voice said to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” (1 Kgs 19:12)
I am inspired by Christian worship music. Is it possible to feel anything besides divine inspiration when Chris Tomlin sings “Our God”?
Water You turned into wine
Opened the eyes of the blind
There’s no one like you
None like you
Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There`s No one like you
None like you
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God
Based on 32-million views, I know that I am not alone. Tens of millions of people move and sway together in lyric worship at venues around the globe. Without a doubt, I am exhilarated and God is glorified by amazing worship. I wonder, though, if I place too much emphasis on mesmerizing vocals, stirring performance and exalted cheering. Is this how God speaks?
How does God speak? In truth and on occasion, God reveals himself in exhilarating mountaintop experiences. Like Elijah’s victory over Baal’s prophets on Mt Carmel, we might see God’s might in spiritual victory. Like the breathtaking moment for Peter, James and John, we may thrill to see Jesus’ transfigured splendor. The joy of magnificent worship may cause our spirits to soar. However, day-in and day-out and apart from the spectacular, God speaks through the enduring power of scripture, prayer and fellowship. How does God touch our hearts? Just like Elijah, God reaches into our lives to sustain us with “a sound of gentle stillness”. God’s voice was not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire.
Our heavenly Father uses the soft, tender, gentle, subdued, sweet breath of scripture, prayer and fellowship to ease confusion with His truth and comfort troubled hearts. God speaks to receptive hearts in moments of quiet reflection and meditation. When focused, we hear His voice. Scripture testifies to His attentiveness. Prayer encourages faith through trust. Fellowship is His voice through the blended lives of friends. Our fellowship with God and other believers overcomes the bonds of agony, doubt, fear and pain that shackle our spirits and rob us of peace. What do we really want and need? We crave God’s voice. He responds with a sound of gentle stillness through His living word, life-giving prayer and the deep bonds of like-minded believers.
Elijah was sustained by the still, small voice of God. Healing did not come from his mountaintop victory at Mt Carmel, being fed by ravens at Cherith, angels at Mt Horeb, wind, earthquake or fire. God whispered encouragement into Elijah’s fearful heart in a cave. God whispers softly, today. I need to tune-in to God’s voice of encouragement in scripture, prayer and the friendship of believers. This is how He speaks.
- “If you do all the talking when you pray, how will you ever hear God’s answers?” – A.W.Tozer
- “We often miss hearing God’s voice simply because we aren’t paying attention.” – Rick Warren