Rain, snow, wind, blizzard, probability of flooding… as I write this the weather forecast has all kinds of things that are just plain nasty. It’s been a long winter and the next few days are not getting any better.
That’s why I enjoyed several of the jokes going around last weekend. “You want to know the best part of the time change…one less hour of winter.”
“This year for Lent I’m giving up winter.” All of this delightful weather can get a person down. The blues are not just a genre of music. It’s the way many feel after a winter like this one.
Of course, there are much more serious issues than just the weather that get people down. In the Old Testament the prophet Elijah felt like his life was over because the King hated him and the Queen sent a messenger to him to tell him that she was going to have him killed. In fear he left to run to the wilderness.
When he got out into the middle of nowhere “he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers’” (1 Kings 19:4). God did not grant his request but instead sent him farther into the wilderness to Mt Sinai. There the Lord appeared to him in an unexpected way. On the mountain there was a huge wind (something we may know something about!) but God was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake and then a fire but the Lord was not in either of them. Finally, there came “the sound of a low whisper” (1 Kings 19:12). God spoke to him in that whisper. He commanded Elijah to get back to work and he reminded him that he was not alone. There were actually 7,000 other believers in the land with Elijah.
“A low whisper”… I think God still speaks in a quiet way. Through the prophets and the apostles God has given us his word. It often sits quietly on a shelf. We know it’s there but we don’t use it. It’s like we want something more spectacular. We’re like King Herod who wanted a sign or a show from Jesus. He didn’t want to have a conversation with him. He just wanted some sort of miracle.
Well, it is a miracle that we have God’s Word. The word is about the Miracle, our salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection. It is his Word which commands us to go and serve others. It reminds us that we are not alone. In fact, the church continues to grow and nothing not even the gates of hell can destroy it. More than anything it comforts us with the truth that God is always with us and neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor dead of night can separate us from his love in Christ Jesus.
A low whisper…instead of giving up things for Lent it would be best to take his Word off the shelf and listen to him as he speaks to us.