I’ve always been fascinated by words. And I’ve always loved questions. So it should not surprise you that a strange word that is also a question would remain bouncing around my mind for over 30 years. The word . . . WIGIAOT. Not so much a word as it is an abbreviation. W-I-G-I-A-O-T. Where is God in all of this? This question that runs through our minds, especially in the difficult moments of life, confronts Elijah.
The great prophet was told that the Lord would be passing by. And as Elijah stood on that Mountain, that same mountain on which Moses had stood to receive the Law, there was a mighty wind, but the Lord was not in the wind. And then there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And then there was the fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. Where is God in all of this? Certainly, the Lord would reveal himself in the most dramatic ways. Certainly, the Lord would make himself known in ways that would overwhelm our freedom, such that we would never ask, "Where is God in all of this?"
But he was not in the mighty wind,
not in the earthquake,
not in the fire.
But in a tiny whispering sound.
The Lord was not revealed in the noise, but in the silence, in the tiny whispering sound, and Elijah could only veil his face in reverence.
The God whom Elijah did not meet in the wind and the earthquake and the fire, the disciples met in a storm. Elijah met the presence of the Lord in the still and small whispering voice. Peter and the other disciples met Jesus in the midst of the wind and the waves and the fear and the anxiety.
To be perfectly honest, I prefer the still and small whispering voice. I prefer to hear the voice of the Lord in the calm of the early morning or the peaceful sounds of the late evening. But I also need to hear the voice of the Lord and recognize the presence of the Lord in the midst of the storm. I want to experience, like Peter and the disciples experienced, Jesus walking toward me when the winds and the waves are raging all around me. I want to hear, like Peter and the disciples heard, the voice of Jesus and those consoling words, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
I want to walk, like Peter walked, on the water to see Jesus. And I want Jesus to stretch out his hand to me, as he did for Peter when I start to sink in the midst of the wind and the waves.
In a still and small whispering voice and in the midst of the storms, the voice of the Lord draws near to each of us. Sometimes we hear. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we listen and sometimes we don’t. But the voice of the Lord speaking words of love and consolation and reassurance echoes from generation to generation proclaiming the promise of mercy.
In a still and small whispering voice and in a voice that resonates more powerfully that the winds and waves of any storm, the Lord Jesus says to you and the Lord Jesus says to me,
“Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.”