Worth the Wait
This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder
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 mountain 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. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”. — 1 Kings 19: 11 – 13
In the thought-provoking writing of Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak * is the following thought. “The soul is like a wild animal—tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.”
The Old Testament book of 1 Kings captures this fascinating story in the life of Elijah the prophet. In today’s Scripture passage, Elijah is seeking refuge and the presence of God. In His faithfulness, God answers, but not exactly in the way Elijah would expect. What we find in this passage is that God often uses quiet, subtle whispers to announce His presence. Like Elijah, if we’re not quiet, we too might miss God’s whispering.
I love the illustration Palmer uses when describing how we must wait for God. It is as arrogant to burst into the jungle expecting to see wildlife as it is to burst into the presence of God demanding to see Him on our schedule and according to our expectations. Fortunately, God meets us with exceeding grace and patience. Consider the story of Elijah. God sends the earthquake, the fire, and the wind but He did only that…He sent them. His presence did not accompany them. However, with the gentle whisper came the gift of God Himself. Surprised? We shouldn’t be. Scripture is full of examples of how God showed Himself to the people in unexpected ways. Jesus repeatedly did the unexpected and also spent time with God in quiet, lonely solitude. Perhaps we would do well to do the same.
While I desire to see God show up in miraculous ways, what I really need is to hear the gentle whisper of God today and everyday. To hear the whisper, I have to learn to quiet my wild spirit and wait. Today, I invite you to join me on a safari of the soul.
- Do you find it difficult to spend time with God in quiet and solitude? If so, why?
- Commit to spending some true “quiet time” today with God.
Psalm 46:10; Luke 5:16
*Palmer, Parker J. Let Your Life Speak, Listening for the Voice of Vocation. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA: 2000.
Leslie Snyder is a youth and family ministry veteran currently serving in the Kansas City area with her husband and three kids.