A gentle whisper. The Creator of the universe, Almighty God, chose to show up in a gentle whisper.
I recently traveled to Seattle with a group of friends to hear author/Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer speak live. It was amazing. One of the things Priscilla said that stood out to me was that the Bible is the only book that comes alive as you read it. God can cause the words on the page to suddenly seem as if they are highlighted, meant just for you at that exact moment in your life. The Bible says, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
The Bible is incredible. So powerful. It has become so precious to me. I know God dwells within, and He speaks to me through His word all the time! Confession: I sometimes hug my Bible. Because it is the most beloved possession I will ever own. It draws me nearer to my King.
Priscilla Shirer said sometimes a Bible passage will stand out to you, but you’re not even sure why. Then days later, something happens that causes you to need that exact passage that God impressed upon your heart.
This just happened to me.
For some reason, I have recently been fascinated and touched by a passage in 1 Kings 19. Elijah, a faithful prophet of the Lord, was afraid of being killed by Jezebel because she was furious that Elijah killed the prophets of Baal. So Elijah fled. Then while he was in the wilderness, he prayed that he might die. He said he had enough. An angel arrived to care for him and insist that Elijah eat in order to gain strength. Then Elijah traveled to Horeb, the mountain of God. Elijah went into a cave for the night.
1 Kings 19:9-13
“There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: 'What are you doing here, Elijah?' He replied, 'I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.' 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 Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave."
I have been so captivated by this recently. God was not in the wind, God was not in the earthquake, God was not in the fire. He was in a gentle whisper.
He does not always show up how we expect Him to!
So yesterday. It was one of those days. I’m certain I’m not the only one who has sat down to do the bills and look over the monthly budget, and….sinking feeling….it just doesn’t look good.
I got on my knees and prayed. I thanked God for providing for us. Always. I confessed to Him that we haven’t always been wise and we could have saved money for such a time as this. And I told God today would be the perfect day for money to show up unexpectedly. He has done that so many times before! He’s so good to us. Surely today would be the day for that to happen. (Funny that I think I can tell God how to solve my problems for me. Pleeeease. He knows what He’s doing!)
I was headed to the store, hating that I had to spend a chunk of money on things we needed at home, and I stopped to check our mail. I was thinking, "Ok...this is it!" God had to know that money was just what I needed to calm my heart. Ivy jumped out of the car, and brought me what she found in our mailbox.
A letter. Just one letter. That was the only thing in our mailbox. Who gets letters anymore??
It was from a dear friend I knew from high school. She wrote that I had been on her mind and so she was taking the time to write and share a memory of me. She wrote about something that happened over 20 years ago, one little moment that had really touched her and showed her what love looked like. She wrote, “Thank you for that. I’ve been carrying it with me all these years.”
You guys. I was stunned. I barely remembered the moment she was talking about. What an incredible gift to have her bring it back to me and say it was important, after all this time. Her words were a treasure!
And I sat in the car thinking, “God, what does this mean? I came here expecting something from You...”
And then I suddenly felt as though that beautiful letter was God whispering to me, “I see you…I see you…Your heart pleases me.”
God knew what I needed. I did not need money. I needed words of encouragement. I needed Him to hold me close. I needed to be reminded that He knows what He’s doing. And that He sees me.
I cried all the way to the store.
And on my way back home after shopping, I realized, “The gentle whisper! God spoke to me in a gentle whisper.” He did not show up the way I expected Him to. What He did was so much better and more marvelous.
I read the passage in 1 Kings again last night and cried through it.
And then late last night, I told Seth that I went to the mailbox expecting one thing from the Lord and instead received the most precious letter. I told Seth that I felt God whispering, “I see you.”
Both of us had tears in our eyes. God is breathtaking.