1 Kings 19:9,11-16
When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of God, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ Then the Lord himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came 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 there came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice came to him, which said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I am filled with jealous zeal for the Lord of Hosts, because the sons of Israel have deserted you, broken down your altars and put your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left and they want to kill me.’
‘Go,’ the Lord said, ‘go back by the same way to the wilderness of Damascus. You are to go and anoint Hazael as king of Aram. You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and to anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.’
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.
‘It has also been said: Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a writ of dismissal. But I say this to you: everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.’
There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks…
Often when this reading is read, the fact that the voice of God came in a whisper is highlighted. This time, during my reflection, I was drawn to reflect on the strong winds and the earthquake before the tiny voice. You see, I realized that the Bible stories are sometimes too sanitized. Most of these events were written in a very factual manner, without sharing much about the emotional or psychological challenges the characters when through.
I imagine Elijah standing, waiting for the Lord, because he was told that the Lord would pass by. Instead of meeting the Lord, he was made to face the storms. The Bible account did not say anything, but I would imagine him shivering in the cold and perhaps, he was wondering if he was at the right place. He would probably have been crying out to Lord and asking him where the Lord was. To make matters worse, after the storms came the earthquake. He must have been really shaken!
For me, this is a story I would remember when facing difficulties in life, and I feel deep in my heart, that the Lord is asking me to stand firm and wait. Sometimes, the storms and the earthquakes would pass by before we hear God. We are not the only ones who had to stand in wait and shiver in the cold. Even the prophets did.
I don’t really fully understand why God works in this way, but maybe it is partially to strengthen our faith, partially to help us be more appreciative of His love, and other reasons known only to him. I try to be satisfied, knowing that God will always be there for me, and he will come and meet me when the time is right. Even this is not easy for me.
Elijah stood firm in front of the storm and the earthquake waiting for the Lord. The Lord will surely come.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)
Prayer: Dear Lord, the storms and the earthquakes can be scary. Help me stand firm in waiting for you to fulfill your promise.
Thanksgiving: Thank you for the grace you are giving me to stand firm in wait for you and, most importantly, thank you for being our constant God who keeps his promise.