Week 5 Still, small, voice 12 May 2020
Many voices ask for our attention.
There is a voice that says, "Prove that you are a good person."
Another voice says, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself."
There also is a voice that says, "Nobody really cares about you,"
and one that says, "If you want to be loved and respected you need
to become successful, popular, and powerful."
But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still,
small voice that says, "You are my Beloved, my favour rests on you."
God said this to Jesus at his baptism and, as his adopted children,
says the same to us too; and that's the voice we need to hear most of all.
To hear that voice, however, requires special effort;
it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen.
One of my favourite Old Testament readings is in 1 Kings 19.
The story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal and his subsequent meeting with God.
Elijah coordinated a situation where God, in a demonstration of absolute power,
killed the 450 prophets of Baal.
But then God was gone and Elijah, faced with the wrath of Queen Jezebel, fled.
He struggled with fear and anxiety, with exhaustion and depression;
feeling alone and abandoned, and he was searching for God and the voice of God.
He found a cave and was resting when the word of the Lord came to him,
calling him to come to the entrance of the cave and stand in God's presence.
Elijah came out to hear God, to stand before the Lord.
And God came, not in the wind, or in the earthquake, or the fire,
but in the quietness after them, in a still, small voice of love.
A big part of the Lord's dealings with Elijah was to correct
his distorted views of how things were.
And this is where we can learn so much that will reassure and encourage us,
especially when we feel at the end of our tether.
Like Elijah we sometimes long for God to show himself to us
in powerful and dramatic ways.
But he learned that God makes himself known to us not only with dramatic shouts
but also by means of gentle whispers.
Like Elijah we sometimes feel that we've run out of steam in the Christian life,
that we just can't carry on any more.
But the Lord's work continues, and we still have a role to play.
God has a plan and purpose for his creation and we have a part to play in it,
but he doesn't expect us to do it all.
Like Elijah, we sometimes feel isolated and vulnerable as followers of Jesus.
But we are not alone.
God walks with us and sends others to share and support us on our journey,
and his Holy Spirit is in us to guide, prompt and advise.
So remember, that with the Lord, quietness does not mean inactivity.
He has not gone to sleep. He has not forgotten us.
We are not on our own.
When we reach the end of our resources we have only come to the beginning of his.
We can put our trust in him, and know that he will never leave us.
Or, as Jesus said,
"I give them eternal life,
and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand."
It is at this time, when our pace of life has been slowed down,
that we can experience that still small voice which is around us, calling us.
It may often be drowned out by the noise of our world,
by our busy lives, by the work we have to do, by our family's demands,
or by TV, music, movies, video games, the cell phone -
indeed everything that our culture has created
to keep us from being alone with ourselves;
but now we have the opportunity to listen.
The still, small voice is there, calling us, in the emptiness of our hearts at the end of a day,
in the needs of the poor and the destitute.
It is calling us to be transformed by the power of the Spirit,
to live in the fellowship of Christ.