1 Kings 19:9A, 11-16
At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.
Psalm 27: 7-9, 13-14
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger,
you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Matthew 5: 27-32
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
In the reading from Kings, we learn how the Lord communicates. Elijah, afraid for his life, ran from his calling and hid from God. When the voice of the Lord came to him, he may have expected to be rebuked or reprimanded for his behavior. But instead, the Lord shows Elijah that He is not in the chaos, but rather, the stillness. The great natural disasters that surround Elijah seem to parallel the trials he is undergoing with the children of Israel. The Lord shows Himself as separate from the trauma, communicating to Elijah that His plan is not for Elijah’s ruin, but for his redemption. God then opens up communication with Elijah, inviting his honesty about the situation he’s in, and last but not least, God communicates the next steps of Elijah's calling. God’s communication style is to reveal Himself as gentle, invite us to confide in Him, and then after bringing us to a place of peace and openness, summoning us into His plans for redemption.
When crying out to God, we tend to want Him to drop out of the sky and answer us immediately. In our desperation for Him, our human nature tends toward impatience and frustration. But God’s ways are not our ways. He doesn’t speak through turmoil or fear. He doesn’t desire our harm, but rather paradoxically works through it to use it for our benefit. Just like He did for Elijah, God builds trust with us by being gentle, gives us the floor to tell Him our grievances, and after listening to us and bringing us peace, lets us in on His plans for redemption.
Today, the Lord is inviting us to remember His character and wait for Him to make known His plans for us. Take sometime to be still before the Lord. List out your trials and name them as the wind, earthquake, and fire. Then remember the Lord’s character as the one who brings peace. Tell the Lord all about your needs and your heartaches, and then listen for the voice of the Lord to bring you comfort and direction.