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. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 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?”
— I Kings 19:11-13
Probably my single favorite verse in the scriptures is John 5:19. (“Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”) I remember the first time I read that verse, or at least the first time I “saw” that verse and heard what it said. It stopped me in my tracks. “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing.” I remember thinking, “if that is true for Jesus, how much more so for me.”
When I was very young, I remember saying to my mother, “Jesus had it easy, every moment of his life was laid out.” At the time, it seemed to me that every week in church I heard of something Jesus did being “in order to fulfill what had been written.” I thought, wow, wouldn’t it be nice to have a book to tell you everything you are supposed to do. My mother wisely replied, “if that’s what you think, but I do not think so.” Truth is, Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing. Every day he looked for where the Father was at work and went to that spot.
These days, there is a lot of “wind” breaking apart the mountains in the form of impassioned speech. There is a lot of shaking of the earth in the form of “mainstream media” as they say. There is a lot of heat coming from the arguments of politicians. It can be easy for us to be so over-whelmed by it all that we fail to wait for the “gentle whisper” of God. It takes effort to still the noise, to listen for God, to look for the Spirit, and yet, “I can do only what I see the Father doing.” May it be so.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
God of all wisdom, you are working in our world everyday, and yet so often we see only our own activity. Open our eyes to see your work in the world. Move our feet to the places you are active that we may do what you are doing. Amen.
Pastor Tom Greener