Today we have what is probably the story of the greatest challenge a prophet ever had. It came to Elijah when things were looking quite bleak and he knew his days of serving God as prophet were likely at an end. It is a story of discernment, of knowing the voice of God when you hear it, and Elijah did not fail. I think it is, for us, a reminder that it isn’t always easy to hear God’s voice among all the competing messages from inside us and out, but is also an assurance that if we do our best, we will be rewarded every time. Read 1KGS 19 for the full story but here is the crux of the message, a message of mutual love, to be sure.
At the mountain of God, Horeb, Elijah came to a cave, where he took shelter. But the word of the Lord came to him, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by. A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountain and crushing 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 there was fire — but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance to the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?”
If God chooses to whisper to us by name today, “Why are you here?” may we each hear and have a ready answer.