He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces 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 sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19, 11-13
God was not in the great wind, nor was He in the earthquake. Where was the Lord, as Elijah was seeking? God was waiting patiently, in the silence. The silence was there the whole time Elijah stood on the mountain waiting, yet it was covered up, hidden, by the storm, earthquake, and fire. The same silence in the above passage is present every moment of our days. What is covering up the silence in your life, limiting your ability to hear God’s voice? For me, work has been one such noise (it’s been a hectic couple of weeks for us), as well as my attempts to clear up extraneous tidbits. During my One-a-day through April, I stirred up some projects I am now finishing off and finally getting out of the way after having been ignored for too long.
Losing the silence, covering it up with excess in our lives, is a far too frequent occurrence. An easy trap to fall in to is filling our days with extraneous activities which we tell ourselves are important and meaningful at the time, yet leave no positive impact on our lasting lives. Another form of losing the silence is overpowering it with our search for it. This may seem a bit antithetical, yet is all too easy (in my experience, at least). We overpower the exact thing we are seeking by becoming so wrapped up in the striving for it. I have more instances of this sort of “losing the silence” in my spiritual journey than in any other aspect of my life. I get so invested in trying to find a spiritual center, I get too focused on the goal to see myself overrun it entire. This is one of the aspects of spiritual centering we must keep in mind — it is a fleeting reality which demands active attention to it, or it will be lost. How easy it would have been for Elijah to get so caught up in all the commotion of the storm, earthquake, and fire as to completely miss the calm which followed them. If he had become focused upon the storm, the chaos around him, he would have completely missed the silence in which the Lord came to him, spoke to him.
We have the same opportunity as Elijah had, to let the chaos of daily life wash over us and pass us by to focus instead on the silence underlying it all. This is where we find the words of God waiting, the calm and abiding guidance of our Lord, always available. It is up to us to drop in to the calm of silence to listen.