A couple of years ago I was in a season of life that was extremely stressful. I had just moved to a new position at my job and I really wanted to do well in it. This new position required a lot from me and it was affecting my personal and spiritual life outside of work. I was also newly married at this time. All of the pressure I was under at my job negatively affected my friendships, my relationship with my wife and my relationship with God.
I’m reminded of Elijah in the bible. He received a death threat from the queen of Jerusalem and out of fear; he began physically running from the situation. Elijah ran for 40 days before he stopped at a certain cave that was far away from where everything had transpired. (He had a Forest Gump moment!) At this point, Elijah was pretty frustrated and had been asking God to help him.
1 Kings 19:9-13
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, torn 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?”
God spoke to Elijah through a gentle whisper when He easily could have spoken through the wind, the earthquake or the fire. It even seems like it would have been more powerful if God had spoke through one of those things. However, because God chose to speak through a gentle whisper; it required Elijah to understand something that I also feel that God needed to teach me.
God will meet you wherever you are, but on His terms.
Looking back at my stressful situation that I was in, I was expecting God to speak to me and help me through that difficult time, but I was expecting Him to do so on my terms. I was expecting God to speak to through the stress. Not through a whisper. It wasn’t until I stopped running around trying to finish the next task that I was truly (and intentionally) able to listen for God’s gentle whisper. I trusted what God said to me through His word. I allowed God to take control and intervene in my situation.
God was asking me, as He asked Elijah, “What are you doing here, Alex?” He wasn’t asking about my geographically location, he was asking why I emotionally allowed myself to end up where I was. When I finally stopped, listened and trusted, I heard God’s gentle whisper and responded to it. God saved me from the mess that I had led myself in to and taught me to never run in my own strength again.