I have two children under the age of four. I often spend my days in a cacophony of shouts, wild laughter, and shrieking tantrums. I frequently find myself competing with the noise in order to make myself heard. But as a first-grade teacher, I learned a marvelous trick in communicating with young children. I get the children’s attention, and then I drop my voice to a whisper. They stop what they’re doing (usually), draw near to me, and listen intently. They like whispering and “telling secrets.”
Elijah has been caught in the noise, both literally and figuratively. He has raised the ire of Ahab and Jezebel through his truth-telling prophecy. He fears for his life. Exhausted, he is ready to give up. In the midst of this “noise,” the word of the Lord comes to him and directs him to stand on a mountain and wait for the Lord to pass by. While he waits, he hears more noise. A great wind, “splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces.” An earthquake. A fire. This level of noise must have created sheer sensory overload for Elijah. It also highlights by contrast the depth of the silence that follows. The silence draws Elijah in, and then he hears the whisper, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
We live in the noise. Our lives are noisy with television, radio, smart phones, the expectation of instant e-mail response, and more. Our lives are also figuratively noisy with stress, fear, and broken relationships dominating our attention. God speaks to us in a whisper, but sometimes that whisper speaks louder than the noise. Sometimes the contrast of God’s silence jars us out of the noisy grind. Are we hearing the silence? Are we hearing the whisper?

Whispering Lord, help us find our words and your will for us. Amen.

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