In 1 Kings 18, Elijah is witness to God’s mighty power in the form of fire on the alter at Mt. Carmel. It was a terrifying and dramatic show of God’s authority over false gods and false prophets. Yet in chapter 19 God reveals himself to Elijah in a very different way:
11 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. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
In response to this lesson we practiced listening for God’s still small voice in kids church this weekend, while meditating to Matt Redman’s song, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.
One young boy’s honest response to the activity: “I didn’t hear anything because I forgot to listen”.
I applauded him for truth-telling and reassured him that I forget to listen for God’s voice too.
When we asked the kids how many of them really want to hear God’s voice in their lives, almost all of them raised their hands…it’s the awkwardness of practicing that can hang us up, right? How often do we pray, God please speak to me! only to be met with silence? And we can be so easily discouraged, when we don’t hear a booming voice, or a still small whisper. So we resort to the understanding that God *mostly* speaks to us through other people, through His holy scripture, or even through creation. While I do not deny this is true, I want to contend that the art of hearing God’s still small voice is one we cannot give up easily on.
Our capacity to hear from God is great. Our ability to hear God’s voice is only as great as our belief that He will speak.
So we will continue to practice listening. We will continue to believe He speaks. And we will celebrate with every child who recognizes His voice in their lives.