1 Kings 19:11-13 New International Version (NIV)
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. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
We are taught that humans have five senses that shape our experiences with the world around us. We learn early about taste, touch, hearing, and feeling and smelling. Unfortunately in our reborn lives emphasis is rarely put on relying on the spirit to figure out how to navigate the world. When we are sensory led instead of spirit led it is challenging to discern when God is present.
Time and again we disqualify genuine encounters with the Almighty because he did not manifest himself in a way we deemed suitable for Him because we didn’t feel him, or it didn’t sound right. We want to connect an experience with God to other encounters, but God is so unlimited that he cannot be reduced to one approach.
The world around us causes us to status things incorrectly because of false narratives that have perpetuated for generations. We equate big with strong; however an ant can lift 40 times its own bodyweight (which is the equivalent of us lifting approximately two giraffes). We equate age with wisdom; but all of us can name an old fool! We equate black with evil, but we know it is just a color like red, green and blue.
We cannot come to God with preconceived notions based on external impetuses. We must come with childlike hearts. Trusting only what we’ve known and been shown.
When we are acquainted by spirit to God we will always recognize when and what He’s in. Even in the state of depression Elijah followed the message presented to Him by God’s angel and followed. He also recognized the voice of God when he inquired of Him.
What happened next was different. The Lord passed by him. This had not transpired before in the life of Elijah. There was no previous point of reference, no memory, no journal entry for him to speak of. Had he been sensory led he surely would have imagined the Almighty God, to show up in something he could feel like the wind. Certainly an omnipotent God would show his strength and muscle in the shaking of an earthquake. Fire being an element that is consuming, yet containable; damaging but desirable and violent nonetheless valuable seems to be a reasonable indicator of God being present.
After all those displays of what we deem authoritative and notable acts most of us would turn our backs and go back into the cave declaring “God was a no show”; but, Elijah persisted and recognized God in the still, small voice.
Before you pronounce that God isn’t in it (people, places or things) take a moment to check what lens you’re looking through. Have you placed a filter on the circumstances? Are you looking through the screen of past occurrences? Is your assertion based on what you sense?
Today I encourage you to look again. Remove the screen of past experience (yours or someone else’s), of what you heard about God, and your own philosophy of what God should be, do, act or react. If you look with an unfiltered view you will discover God in most everything. Colossians 1:16