Whisper Day 4: Elijah in the Cave

Hope by George Frederic Watts

The Power of a Whisper Reading Plan
Day 4 Reading: 1 Kings 19

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
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?” – 1 Kings 19:9

Carried away from the murder scene by adrenaline, Elijah finds himself in the wilderness, examining his own appalling behavior. The wilderness is a place of introspection where individuals confront their own vulnerabilities. Under a broom tree Elijah faces his demons of self-disgust and self-pity. He asks God to end his miserable life. He felt like a failure. When things go wrong in our lives and ease turns to dis-ease, we can blame ourselves, feeling self-pity or self-loathing. We may have trouble discerning God’s presence. Elijah must have felt this way as he stood on the mountain waiting to experience the presence of God. This wind-and-fire political activist expected to meet God in nature’s sound and fury. Imagine Elijah’s surprise. Instead of appearing in the dramatic wind, fire, or earthquake, God came to Elijah in the sound of “sheer silence.” When times are tough, we too hope God will show up in some dramatic fashion to rescue us. At times like these, we need to find our own wilderness. We need to listen to the sound of sheer silence.
– Karla Kincannon, The Upper Room Disciplines (2010)

Elijah is a mighty and faithful prophet of God, yet he runs from Jezebel’s death threat. A self-imposed banishment to the wilderness and eventually a tomb-like cave. He is so tired and scared that he can’t see all the help around him: the angel twice providing food in the wilderness, the faithful who still remain in Israel, the leaders God is raising up, and of course the constant companionship of God. God initiates a conversation, speaking in a way Elijah can hear. Elijah is despairing and suicidal. It is possible God illustrates Elijah’s torment with a shattering windstorm, an earthquake that shakes the place down to its core, and an all consuming fire. God first shows God understands the deapth of Elijah’s pain, and only after that is perfectly clear, then speaks; speaks in a way that is gentle, healing and persistent. Elijah is affirmed and encouraged. He responds by returning to his work as a prophet.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow. – Mary Anne Radmacher

God whispers, especially in times of deep pain, to help us put the situation into perspective.

When the pain is deep, I cannot see
Everything closes in like the dark, damp walls of a cave
All is stone and I am alone

But you do not leave me in the shadows.
You are with me,
Calling me out of the cave
Speaking in smallness and stillness
Speaking hope into my hopelessness
Reminding me of all the possibilities

Thank you, Faithful One
My Light and Life
Who opens the crypt of my broken heart
Who draws me forth from my too soon tomb
Who leaves no one in the dark

Consider also reading God of Surprises, another devotion on the story of Elijah in the cave by John Indermark from his book Worship in Light of the Cross.

For more information on the Power of a Whisper campaign or for a copy of this reading plan, click here

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you learn to better listen and respond to God’s whispers in your life. – Lisa <><

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