Sometimes I expect my big, bold, powerful God to be just that...Big and Bold and Powerful.
And he is. All those things. He is big and he is bold and he is powerful. But just when I start to expect that of him, he surprises me.
There have been times in my life when I have been waiting to hear from him and I expected him to answer me in a big and bold and powerful way. But he didn't. And I ended up missing what he wanted to say to me. That is when I am reminded of 1 Kings 19: 11-12.
"The Lord said, '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."
In this passage the Lord is talking to the prophet Elijah. Elijah is in hiding, fearing for his life. He has fought a good fight against King Ahab and the prophets of Baal, he has done what the Lord has asked of him and has been zealous in his obedience. But now Elijah is facing certain death, and he is scared. God's answer to this fear, his reassurance that he has not forgotten Elijah, that he will continue to protect him does not come in powerful winds, a bold earthquake or big fire. It comes in a gentle whisper. A whisper so quiet one might miss it if not paying attention. THAT is how my big, bold, powerful God often chooses to communicate.
There are plenty of strong winds, earthquakes, and fires in our lives. It seems most of the things around us (television, music, social media, sports) vie for our attention with forces similar to tornadic winds, earth shattering quakes, and 4-alarm fires. But rarely are any of those things the voice, spirit or presence of God.
Generally, the things that scream for your attention the loudest, are the things you should stay the farthest away from. Often the voice you should be listening to is the one that comes in a gentle whisper. The one that too many of us, too often, miss all together. That is the voice of God. The big, bold, powerful God.