When we first think of being in a relationship with God, we probably picture him as somewhat flashy, even as many of us tried to be (at least us guys) when we were dating. He gave Jacob visions of angels descending and ascending to heaven; he parted the Red Sea for Moses and made the sun stand still for a day so the Israelites could win a battle. He definitely makes an impression. But you kind of wonder what he’s like when you’re alone with him. Would he just stay the life of the party, still playing to the crowd?
An image from the Scriptures shows us a very different side of God. A picture of the way God desires to commune with us is found in 1 Kings 19, where we find the prophet Elijah worn out and afraid, fleeing from Jezebel. She has been trying to kill him ever since he did the same to her prophets. God tenderly ministers to Elijah, twice bringing him food and water. Elijah, strengthened, travels forty days and forty nights until he reaches Mt. Horeb, where he goes to sleep in a cave. The Lord wakes him and listens to his lament about what it is like to be God’s prophet. Elijah is worn out from “doing” and badly in need of restoration of spirit. A great wind strikes the mountain, followed by an earthquake and a fire. And God is in none of these. Finally, Elijah hears a “gentle whisper.” And it is in the gentle whisper that he finds God.