This was originally posted on the RPCC Women's Ministry Blog.
I don’t know about you, but this past week I’ve seen some dramatic reflections of God’s character in His creation. One might comment that this is how things ought to be. After all, the Lord created the world to illustrate His glory and establish a relationship with us. He took joy in designing the intricacies of every living thing and forming the void into a complex and beautiful landscape. But I think the more telling part of my observation is the fact that I noticed it. So often we are blind to what is right in front of us.
This past weekend I went camping with some friends. We go every year at this time—despite the threat of inclement and unpleasant weather—because we go to celebrate Sukkot. Sukkot is one of the three feasts the Lord commanded Israel to observe in the Old Testament. Sukkot means “feast of booths” or “feast of tabernacles.” It is a time to remember the Lord’s presence with the Israelites while they wandered in the desert and His desire to dwell with them. It is also a celebration of the harvest and the Lord’s providence.
So it was half-way through Sukkot and we were camping, dwelling in the very temporary shelter of nylon tents. The first night the wind howled like I had never heard it before. It whooshed among the tall trees around us, filling the air with sound. Now, I love to camp. I love sleeping in a tent. But that night I could not sleep. I admit I was a little scared that a branch might break off and hit us, or that the tent fly would fly away . . . but then I realized I was too fascinated to sleep. The wind reminded me of God’s power, the strong force of His hand. And at the same time, His protection. I felt very much like an Israelite in the desert, fully dependent of God while being surrounded by things unknown. A powerful reminder.
The next morning, the wind was still as strong, but in the daylight it seemed less daunting. After a beautiful day (although we found out there was a wind advisory for the whole area), we went to bed that night not knowing what to expect. And something amazing happened. There was silence. Peace. Stillness. And then the gentle sound of rain. It reminded me of that passage in 1 Kings when God says to Elijah,
“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?” (1Kings 19:11-13)
I wasn’t able to read those verses till I got back on Sunday afternoon, but they still resonated. I know there is more back-story and context for this passage, but I take such comfort in verses 11-13. How many times do I feel like I’m yelling to myself, “What are you doing here?” It reflects doubt and uncertainty. But when the Lord asks the same question with a gentle whisper, how should we respond?
We so often desire for the Lord to speak in flashes of light and a thunderous voice; for the answers to life’s questions to be apparent and pronounced. God does send the strong, loud winds to speak to us, but their message is not always what we wish. Wait and seek the stillness this week. Allow God to whisper His peace and direction into your life, as only He can.