We live in a world that doesn’t like silence. Everything that surrounds us, seeks to fill our lives with noise and words. We have twenty-four-hour news cycles, social media, non-stop television and radio. It all fills our lives with noise. Even when we go to church, every moment is filled with noise, whether talking or music. It’s almost as if we’re afraid of silence. Yet, all the noise in our world, even that which we manufacture ourselves, often pushes God to the periphery, and we miss the opportunity to encounter God in the silence and stillness.
Most Bible readers are familiar with Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Ba’al on Mount Carmel. How after three years of drought, Elijah prayed a short prayer and God sent fire to consume the drenched sacrifice (1 Kings 18), and after the people turned to Him and Elijah prayed again, God sent rain on the parched land. After this encounter, Jezebel, the queen, threatened to kill Elijah because he had slaughtered 450 prophets of Ba’al. So, Elijah fled to the south, near Beersheva, and from there, further into the desert to the mountain of the Lord.
While in a cave, God called Elijah to come out and stand as God passed by. Wind, earthquake, and fire all tore across the mountain splitting rocks and shaking the ground, but God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. Then the Bible says that after the fire came “a moment of absolute silence” (which is the actual translation of the Hebrew phrase); then Elijah recognized the voice of the Lord. Afterwards, God reaffirmed His call and commission to Elijah for him to finish his task. It’s interesting that the miraculous and dramatic event of the fire falling from heaven did not give Elijah the strength to face the challenges and threats he had. Rather, in that moment of absolute silence, Elijah encountered God and found the strength to finish his course.
Do we seek to find God in the silence? Are we too caught-up in seeking the fire falling from heaven that we miss His real presence in the silent and still moments of our lives? Do we seek quiet in order to encounter Him and hear His voice?
Lord, as I quiet myself before you, help me to encounter You in the silence and stillness. Enable me to hear Your voice and follow your direction. Amen.