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Be Still

Aug 31, 2020

This post is by Sarah Johnson.

...And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire: but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12, KJV)

After the wind, after the earthquake, after the fire, when everything is quiet... a still, small voice. The ESV says, “the sound of a low whisper.” The NRSV says, “after the fire a sound of sheer silence.”

In any version, I imagine Elijah holding his breath, not daring to move, straining to hear what God is going to say to Him.

Elijah made a long trek to get to the mountain where God spoke to him. Moses heard from God via burning bush but he, too, ascended a mountain. Sometimes God spoke to people in dreams, sometimes through angelic messengers. Sometimes God thunders, sometimes he utters, sometimes he whispers.

But if Elijah and Moses and Joseph and all the saints and you and me aren’t listening, it doesn’t matter how He chooses to speak. I think of myself, going about my day to day life. So ordinary, so mundane most of the time, but always busy, always noisy, always something to do, someone to take care of, something to fix, something to worry about. Never enough time.

I am diligent about reading my Bible daily… most of the time. I pray every day, even though sometimes it’s just the Lord’s Prayer as I drift off to sleep. Like everything else in life, there is waxing and waning. Sometimes I am just checking “God time” off a list so I can get to the thing I really want to do after the kids go to bed. (Spoiler alert: it’s usually escaping into a good book or binge watching Netflix.)

I pray for God’s will to be done in my life, but then I forget to wait for Him to tell me what His will is. And if I’m not listening, how can I know? And if I don’t know, how can I do it? 

The thing I hear most often is that God speaks to us through the Bible. I believe this. It has happened to me. If I am attentive and careful during my reading, the things that usually stand out to me are messages God wants me to hear. But I also believe there are so many other ways he reaches us. Sometimes it is the clarity of an “aha” moment inside my own head. It is so clear and so true, that I know it has come from God to me. Sometimes, he speaks through the people around us. Sometimes he thunders at us and gets our attention with wind and earthquakes and fires, life altering events in our lives.

But we have to hold still long enough to hear Him. We have to take the spiritual posture of Elijah, listening intently inside his cave, for he probably didn’t know what… but sheer silence and a still small voice, easily missed under the clamour of life for those of us not isolated on a mountain.

Be still… and know that I am God.


Sarah is a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom to six kids, two dogs, two cats, and one husband. You can find her trying to keep it real on Instagram @callingupsarah and her blog, http://www.callingupsarah.blogspot.com, where she writes occasionally about her relationship with God, her struggles with depression, and the challenges and joys of motherhood and life with a large family.

Photo by Kamila Maciejewska on Unsplash


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