Sometimes, like when Elijah challenged Baal to a spiritual dual, God shows up big and loud. I love the story of this great miracle. Elijah knew he could count on God to show up visually to demonstrate to the Israelites who had been worshiping idols that He was the only true God. Twelve barrels of water poured over the wood, the rocks of the alter, and into the trench dug around it…The priests that had been praying for their god Baal to accept their offering on dry wood must have been amused as they watched this.
When our God, the one true God, consumed not only the sacrifice and the wood but the very rocks themselves, they must have been astounded! Stories like this are incredible and they can be life changing, but they are not the norm.
The norm is demonstrated in some of Elijah’s other experiences. Queen Jezebel was an angry and wicked woman. Her king husband had not been ruling the Israelites in righteousness. They were worshiping idols. Elijah, through God, cursed the land with no rain because of their sins. Ahab and Jezebel hated Elijah because of this and wanted him dead. Quietly the Spirit of the Lord warned him to hide. First, he found a little brook where he was fed by ravens. Then after the brook dried up the Spirit quietly directed him to the home of a widow who took what little flour and oil she had left and made him some bread to sustain him. Because of her faith Elijah was able to perform miracles in behalf of her and her little son.
When King Ahab was sufficiently humbled by the drought to make Elijah safe, the Lord quietly directed him to go and issue the challenge I described earlier. After God had proven himself, Ahab went back and told Jezebel all that he had seen. This just made her angrier. She was even more determined to have him killed. Elijah fled to safety. He walked for 40 day and 40 nights, fasting along the way. He found a cave to hide in. The Spirit of the Lord quietly told him to go to the top of the mountain where God would meet him.
A great wind came and broke rocks off the mountain but the Lord was not in the noisy wind. Then an earthquake came and shook the ground. But the Lord was not in the noisy earthquake. Then a fire came. But the Lord was not in the noise of the fire. After all was quiet again, Elijah heard the still small voice of the Lord. When he heard it, he knew the voice was God and went to talk with Him. The quiet voice asked what he was doing there. Elijah told God all his sorrows and fears. He told Him how alone he was and how the King and Queen were trying to kill him like they had the other prophets. God comforted Elijah and told him he was not alone. He told him where to go to find the Israelites who were still faithful to Him.
I am so grateful for quiet exchanges like this in my life. Times when I have felt scared and alone and have been comforted by the still small and calm voice of the Lord. One of the biggest challenges to interactions like this is the noise of the world, similar to what Elijah experienced. We have so many noisy distractions in our day, especially with the digital world all around us. I have found it necessary in my own life to learn how to turn a few things down and a few things off. When I make the conscious choice to do this, I am much more accessible to the quiet voice that is always trying to communicate with me. At first, this felt a little strange and eerie because I was so used to the “background noise” in my life. Now I crave the quiet. If I go long spurts without it, I start to feel restless and anxious.
I know some of you feel like you are never alone and will have to get creative to find these pockets of time. I will share some of my favorite places for quiet:
- In my car as I drive – I love to shut the radio off and pray. After I pray, I intentionally leave the radio off and ponder on life and the things that I am trying to accomplish right now. I often have great inspiration on what to do next as I ponder in these moments. Maybe you have moments as you wait to pick up a child from an activity or right after you drop them off that you could try this practice.
- In the grocery store – I know there are people and things going on around me in this setting, but if I don’t put my earbuds in to listen to my latest podcast or audio book, I have found that I can get lost in my thoughts and sort through things as a wander in the aisles.
- In the shower – even when my kids were little, this was a favorite quiet spot. I often would wait to shower until I knew it was nap time, rest & reading time, or when my husband was home to take over caring for our kids. Even if this was not a long time, there is something about running water and isolation that allows for productive meditation.
- During the sacrament – even with small kids, I created an expectation of quiet during the time that the sacrament was being passed. I laminated small pictures of Christ that they only had access to during this time during the week. They loved the novelty of these pictures and would spend the time shifting through the pictures. It helped them stay focused and it allowed me some time to contemplate my week and my appreciation for my Savior and His atonement. During this quiet time, I could review what things I was doing well and what things I needed to change or work harder on. I am and have always been so grateful for this quiet time in my week.
Where are some of the places you have found where you can tap into the silence and listen for the still small voice in your life? Is there a family practice you have or that you could start that involves shutting off the digital noise for brief times, maybe during dinner or during bedtime that would allow for the quiet of the Spirit to be more noticeable?
The Primary Manual for Come Follow Me is perfect for families with young children!
FREE DOWNLOADABLE coloring pages I created to go with the above lesson and the stories of Elijah:
Videos of the Bible stories we have covered this year are available on my YouTube channel: (21) Rising Moon Adventures Scripture Story Time – YouTube