“And after the fire, a still small voice.”
Bible, I Kings 19:12
When you read a “Thought for the Day”, what picture do you have of the writer? You may have no starting point for your understanding of me, other than what you’re reading now. How, then, do you picture me? Am I still in my pyjamas? Am I at my desk in the wee small hours or on a bright, sunny afternoon? You can read the words, but what about all the rest?
My minister offers a weekly worship podcast. I know Robin Allison well, but what does his voice tell me? Is he having a good day or a bad one? Is he wearing a onesie or a suit? Is he late for his tea because he has his podcast to do? I can hear his voice, but what about all the rest?
What about people on TV, like correspondents and newsreaders? Usually, especially in a studio, they’re behind a desk and all we see is from the waist up. But is that smart pundit wearing jeans and trainers as well as a jacket and tie? Does that well-dressed reporter have scuffed shoes and odd socks? I can see what’s there, but what about all the rest?
We read what’s written, hear what’s said, see what’s presented, never the whole story. But we can become so focussed on what we don’t know that we miss the effect of what’s right there. What a pity it is when we miss the value of that as we concentrate on what we may never know.
The prophet Elijah was struggling to understand the nature of God. He felt abandoned, at very low ebb, and, in a cave, railed against God. And God said, “Wait a while …” And there was a mighty wind, but God wasn’t in the wind; a great earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; a raging fire, but God wasn’t in the fire. And then … a “still small voice”, enough of a revelation of God for Elijah to restore his faith and keep him on track.
Don’t get hung up on what you don’t know about God in your life. Read what you read. Hear what you hear. See what you see. And let that be enough. Be pleased, like Elijah, you’re given your “still small voice” from time to time, for that is all the revelation of God that you’ll need right now.
A prayer for today
Living God, thank you for your reassurance
that my small understanding of you will be enough for now.
Help me to keep listening for your little voice. Amen
An original reflection © Tom Gordon