Silence, Stillness, and Centering before God (2 minutes)
Scripture Reading: 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.
When God appeared to Elijah (after his flight from Jezebel and during his suicidal depression), he told him to stand and wait for the presence of the Lord to pass by. God did not appear in ways he had showed up in the past. God was not in the wind (as with Job), an earthquake (as when he gave the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai), or fire (like the burning bush Moses saw). God revealed himself to Elijah in "a gentle whisper," which can also be translated as "a sound of sheer silence." The common translation of this passage does not fully capture the original Hebrew, but what could the translators do? How do you hear silence?
The silence after the chaos, for Elijah and for us, is full of the presence of God. God spoke to Elijah out of the silence. God invites you to stand and wait like Elijah. Why? God also wants to speak to you out of the "sound of sheer silence."
Questions to Consider
When can you set aside some time for extended, uninterrupted silence to hear God?
Lord, you know how difficult it is for me to be in silence before you. At times it feels almost impossible, given the demands, distractions, and noise all around me. During this season of Lent, I invite you to lead me to a quiet, silent place before you-to a place where I can hear you as Elijah did. In Jesus' name. Amen.