Hearing God

There is an incredible story recounted in 1 Kings 17-19 about a prophet named Elijah.  I won’t retell the story here; if you have access to Scripture, you can look it up and read it for yourself.  (Or, just click here.) But I will say that the story is captivating for a host of reasons.  Elijah did some pretty amazing and shocking things by the power of God, but not everything in his life was promising from his point-of-view.  Some of his more courageous and defiant acts put his own life in danger, and he didn’t know where to go or what to do in order to find the answers he needed.  So God intervened and gave his prophet what he needed.

In 1 Kings 19:11-13, we find Elijah in a cave waiting for a sign or a vision of the Lord God.  He is then told to go out and stand before the Lord as God passes by.  And an incredible wind rips through the rocky ridges.  Then an earthquake shakes the mountain.  And then a fire follows in its path.  But the text says that the Lord wasn’t in any of these big, powerful displays.  And then Elijah heard the voice of God.  It wasn’t with trumpets sounding or peals of thunder; rather, God’s voice came in what translations variously call “a gentle breeze,” “a low whisper,” or “a still silence.”  This wasn’t how one might expect to hear from God.  Nonetheless, Elijah recognized the voice of God and found the guidance he needed to finish his ministry.

Sometimes we, like Elijah, find ourselves waiting for that still, small voice.  It can be so difficult to filter out the noise.  It can be so easy to get distracted by so many things vying for our attention that we neglect to take time to really listen to God.

At times in my life when I’m facing difficult decisions and don’t yet know which path to take, I try to remind myself to be still and listen.  I’ve never heard an audible sound that I thought was God’s voice, but the Holy Spirit is still alive and active, and he does move us along in one way or another.  His guidance may come loudly and definitively, or it may come in a barely perceptible whisper.  I’m at the point in a months-long journey of exploration where I am praying that I can hear God and know what to do next.

In case you’re searching for wisdom and discernment in your life right now, you can know that I’m praying for you, too.  My prayer is that every person who seeks God and listens for his voice will find the answers that he needs so that God might be glorified.  So be still and listen; you may soon find yourself hearing God.

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About PatrickBarber

Preaching Minister East Point Church of Christ Wichita, Kansas
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