Walking with the Lord and following His plan for our lives is an exciting adventure. It is certainly a faith walk. The Apostle Paul reminded us several times in the Epistles that “the just shall live by faith,” and Paul was a wonderful example of someone who did that.
However, as we walk by faith, at times all of us need to hear words of instruction, guidance, affirmation, and even comfort from God. I have heard people say, “God never talks to me.” Most people have never heard His audible voice. However, He will talk to you in various ways if you will simply take the time to understand how He speaks.
So often we expect God to speak in a spectacular way, and He chooses to speak in another way. I’m reminded of Elijah the prophet. Elijah experienced great victories. He challenged the prophets of Baal and won. He climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and prayed earnestly for rain to end a three-year drought, and the Lord answered that prayer. And he outran the king’s chariot.
Just after these successes, Elijah received an unexpected jolt: Jezebel swore that she would have him killed. Fear replaced joy and Elijah began running again, but this time for his life. He sat down under a juniper tree and had a pity party. He even asked the Lord to take his life (1 Kings 19:4). An angel ministered twice to his physical needs. Then the Bible says, “So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 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 mountains 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 19:8–13 NIV)
Through a gentle whisper, God ministered to Elijah. Some would have looked for God to speak in the wind, and when they didn’t hear anything, they might have closed their ears. Others would have listened for His voice in the earthquake or the fire. And when they didn’t hear, they would have said, “Well, I guess God is not going to speak to me.”
However, Elijah was so desperate to hear from God that he just kept listening. Suddenly a gentle whisper came, and God was in it. I encourage you to stop looking for God to speak to you in spectacular ways and start listening for the gentle whisper.
I recently needed a little encouragement myself. I prayed, “Lord, I just need to hear from You. I need to feel Your presence.” It had rained in Tulsa for two solid weeks, and another week of rain was forecast. I am not one who enjoys the rain. The next day was my birthday. As I awakened, the sunshine beamed into my bedroom. There was no rain that day—only sunshine. At midnight it began to rain again. I realized that God was speaking to me through the sunshine, telling me that He loved me so much that He had provided sunshine on my special day. Some would think this was just a coincidence, but I knew that God was speaking to me.
Recently my daughter, Denise, was missing her grandmother who passed away two years ago. She needed comfort from the Lord. Suddenly a butterfly flew past her face. Denise remembered that her grandmother loved any item that was decorated with butterflies. Seeing that butterfly made her smile and realize that God was comforting her.
God cares about us. He knows our every thought, desire, and longing. He will use ordinary things to speak to us. Let’s be sensitive to recognize His voice.