Prior to this, Elijah had witnessed God’s power in dramatic ways – sending fire to burn up sacrifices to Ba’al on an altar and bringing an end to drought. Elijah had bragged about being the one prophet of Yahweh that had survived. Elijah had shown great courage in the face of great danger, but then runs away in fear when Queen Jezebel threatens his life. His bragging about being the lone prophet becomes a whining complaint. It is in his despair and exhaustion that he begs God to let him die. He feels he can go no farther.
This time, God shows up in a less dramatic fashion – providing respite and nourishment, speaking in the whisper of the wind. Sometimes, we fail to recognize God in quiet moments of connection, believing that only big, dramatic experiences are worth our attention. In the church, we bemoan the fact that our congregation is smaller, we don’t have as many youth or children, we have fewer voices in the choir, or we don’t have as many special events that draw in huge numbers of people from the community. In our personal lives, we downplay experiences of God that aren’t mountaintop-type spiritual experiences.
To what degree does your pining for the days when the church did “big” things prevent you from appreciating what God is up to now? In what ways has God provided you rest for your weariness and nourishment for a hungering soul? When has God quietly shown up in your life lately? Who or what has God put on your path to keep you from getting stuck in a place of despair?
In prayer, thank God for showing up in both big, dramatic ways and in small, quiet ways.