At the mountain of God, Horeb, Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter. The Lord said to him, "Go outside and stand by the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by." A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing 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 there was a fire' but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a
The readings for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time have so much to offer, and while I was in the shower today I thought of many profound, witty and earth-shattering things to say about all of them, with a bit of political and social commentary (and just the right amount of sarcasm thrown in). But , by the grace of God, as I have sat down at the computer, I cannot remember any of my profound thoughts; they were full of wind and fire, sound and fury, but they signified nothing (except maybe the ego of yours truly). And so it goes with me and most of my self-willed ambitions! Thankfully, again by God's grace the still small movements of His Spirit have prevailed in me, for the most part.
Each of us needs to work on hearing the gentle whispering of God, especially as the storms of life rage on around us. The words may not be profound or earth-shattering either, they might be as simple as telling a very tired, sick and overwhelmed expectant mother that the most needful thing at the moment was not the mess all around her, and it was not in justifying to the world that being pregnant for the seventh time isn't a sign of laziness, selfishness or stupidity, it was the toddler at her feet who needed her. The exact words that God whispered to me in that moment of despair were :"Heidi do you see that little boy on the floor, he needs lunch and a nap." And all of a sudden, in a flood of gratitude, I realized that "kindness and truth, justice and peace" spring forth when we cry out to God our Father and trust in his response. The rest of the day would unfold as they always do, and the opportunity to live a life of meaning, beauty and integrity would be built on the moment to moment responses to the Lord's whisperings.
My morning sickness did not immediately abate, and I still struggled with doubt and fear, but I had gained perspective on how God's Kingdom emerges. The Kingdom of Heaven emerges when we take our heart and mind of the storms around us and look to the Lord, because the raging tempests will continue until the end of time!
I will never forget that still small voice, because as it is with everything that is of God, that whisper has echoed down through my past memories and forward into future struggles. It's gentle direction continues to unfold and work in my life.