Thought for the Day – 14th August 2020
Many voices – 1 Kings 19: 9-13
“At Horeb Elijah came to a cave, and spent the night there.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’
He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ “
During this COVID-19 pandemic, there are people working from home who have to share in conference calls. Each person at that call will have his/her own viewpoint. Some seem very sure of their position; confident in their rightness. Some will be abrasive in debate, others persuasive and a few will be open-minded. Most will be trying to say something, to convince the rest of us that we should follow them. Thank God for them all!
So many voices all clamouring for attention. Not just in a conference, but all the time, so how do we hear God’s voice in it at all? The problem is that God doesn’t usually shout. He’s not strident and aggressive, as many of his followers are! He doesn’t scream over the shrill noise of opinion and argument. He’s more likely to stand quietly, and wait patiently until we turn to him, and when we do it leaves us free to choose or reject.
We still need to hear that voice though, to recognise it in the clamour and to be assured that it’s his. Yet it isn’t always clear is it? Sometimes I suspect God just smiles at us – still with that gentleness and love – and says “But what do you think? You’re grown up now and you’ve a mind of your own. You decide.” It can sometimes be frightening, this freedom, but it makes us grow. We all make mistakes but, if they’re made in good faith and not out of stubbornness, he works them into good.
I have a strong feeling that it’s not as difficult identifying God’s voice as we sometimes make out. The problem is that we pretend not to hear it, even to ourselves, because we don’t want to do what he asks us to do!
Lord, we ask you to give us a fresh understanding of your presence in our lives. Strengthen us, we pray, in our faith and help us to be present in each moment so that we may see you and hear your voice everywhere, in all things and in all people. Give us hearts and minds that seek your face, and help us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to be always grateful for your many blessings and the gracious gift of your presence. Amen