And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks 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 the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:11-13, ESV
I just published a Bible study on having unwavering faith. I wrote that study not because I have attained that unwavering faith, but because I desire to attain it. This week our church and community lost a beautiful seven year old soul. I have been in tears before my God a many nights praying that He would heal her. I knew that He could. His ability was never a doubt… however His will is not mine to control, command, break or bend.
With her passing the enemy began His attack on my faith. I recalled all the prayers that I have prayed and how so many seemed futile and pointless. I questioned why I even bothered. It appeared that I simply was to just live to obey His Word and let God do what God was going to do. By Friday morning I didn’t even bother to read the Word. The time that I usually chose to use for Bible study and prayer I instead stuck earphones in and watched Netflix on my phone. I felt myself purposely hardening my heart and rejecting joy.
Then my girls and I loaded up after school and went to attend our sweet girl’s funeral. I sat there wanting so badly to be indifferent to my God, really just wanting to be numb, but He is such a Good Good Father that His patience, long-suffering, everlasting love, and endless mercies just simply keep enduring the emotional rollercoaster of this flesh of mine.
I sat there in the midst of His presence, listening to the songs chosen by this precious family, and their words of faith reminded me that our God is good. As I sat their wanting to turn my back, my Jesus grabbed me by the heart and turned my face to His, and said, It’s okay. I understand. You asked for the mountain to be moved again, and I didn’t move the mountain the way you asked. You prayed for earthquakes and fire but you simply need to remember that I am in the gentle whisper.
One of the struggles of being a woman that believes every word of Scripture is that I know that my God can speak the world into existence, bring water from a rock, still the sun in the sky, turn water into wine, and bring the dead to life, and well when He doesn’t… that’s a high mountain to fall from. It can make you question your ability to even hear Him and the relationship you thought you had with Him. Of course, perhaps I am just speaking of myself.
My God holds me steady in His cords of kindness and bands of love (Hosea 11:4, ESV). He uses them to keep me close to Him much like a mother with a monkey backpack and leash attached to her prone to wander toddler. I’m glad He does. This world can be a hard place and this girl can be a hard headed fool with her own ideas of how life should go. I easily forget as Natalie Grant sings that He is indeed the King of the world and I want to take life back from Him and tell Him how things need to be done.
I want to see Him in the earthquake and fire, but He shows Himself to me in the gentle whisper. When I asked Him why do I pray He reminded me that prayer was not for me to tell Him what to do or even to offer up my lists of requests. Prayer, true prayer, is a conversation WITH Him, not to Him or at Him. Prayer is more for Him to tell us His will, than for us to tell Him ours. Prayer is more for the opportunity to be still before our God and let Him love us and speak to our hearts to prepare us for His will.
We may look for earthquakes and fire, but He is always found in the gentle whisper. We may ask for miracles of removed tumors and immediate deliverance, but our God is as much about the process as He is the result. We want removed pain, but He gives us long hair that can’t chemo can’t break loose. We want immediate healing, but He gives us one after another turning their hearts to Him. We want more time with our loved ones, but He uses their death to bring eternal life to others. We want deliverance from the disappointments and hurt, but He gives us the strength, patience, and ability to forgive in order to be able to endure just a little more so that His great mercy and grace might be seen by a deceived but still watching world.
I’m not going to pretend that I understand it all. I’m simply in awe that my God is able to endure me and my ups and downs. I simply know that I am loved by a God that is willing to bend down to me when I need Him. I am loved by a God that when He sees my yoke is too much to bear He is able and willing to ease it. He is always faithful to send His gentle whisper to remind me that He is hearing me. He takes the time to prove to me that my prayers are not hitting the ceiling. He lets me know that when I come to Him in prayer I have indeed been in conversation with the King of the world… and in His whisper He speaks to me just as He did to Elijah and says, Nicole what are you doing here? You know that I am still on My throne. I know You are weary, hurt, and confused, but You have not, nor never will be, alone, forsaken, or forgotten. You know that I am God. You know that I am good. You know that I love you.
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