Where Do We Encounter God?

Sunday, June 23

6-23By David Brock, presiding evangelist

Now there was a great wind… 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…Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered…the Israelites have…killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life…Then the Lord said to him, “Go…you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram.”

—1 Kings 19:11–15

Being a prophet is difficult!

Elijah risks his life to stand up for God before the prophets of Baal. And what is his reward? A pledge by Queen Jezebel to kill him within 24 hours! Afraid and feeling sorry for himself Elijah flees into the wilderness, lies down under a lonely tree, and pleads with God for death.

But, God is not done with Elijah. God does not abandon him, but provides warm baked cake and fresh water…twice! Later, there is a cave to shelter him and the presence of the Holy in the unforgettable “sound of sheer silence.” God does not let Elijah have the desire of his discouraged heart to go to sleep and never wake up.

Being a prophet is difficult!

God nurtures and cares for Elijah but does not stop there.

God demands, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” And God gives a directive: “Get up and eat!…Go out!…Stand on the mountain!” And, again, later: “Go, return on your way!…Go, anoint the king!”

If Elijah’s life is a guide for our own, we can assume God meets us anywhere God wants, but often not where we expect. Many proclaim God’s presence in earthquake, wind, and fire, but sheer silence may more often be the place of encounter. It may be in notable and public ways–walls come down; there is a sea change in political and economic arenas; societies free captives and restore justice.

But is God less present in our fears, in our lonely, wilderness places, in our want-to-give-up-and-die times? Sometimes God encounters by nurturing and protecting and comforting. Sometimes God says, “Get up…Go out…Stand…Return…Go!”

Being a disciple is difficult!

Encounters with God can be difficult. However, they also restore, refresh, and renew. We cannot go anywhere where God will not or cannot meet us. Thanks be to God!

Prayer for Peace
Covenant God, you are there, in the silence, to comfort us when we are afraid to feed us when we are hungry, to give us strength for Christ’s mission.

Spiritual Practice: Reflection on Hunger
Hold a piece of bread in your hands. Reflect on the people and work that made this bread possible: the farmers, millers, bakers, transportation workers, and grocers. Offer a prayer of gratitude and blessing for all who worked to create this bread. Ask for compassion and courage to offer bread to all who hunger.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will get up and go out to engage in Christ’s mission.

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2 Comments

  1. Vera Entwistle

     /  23 June 2013

    Thank you, David, for this timely reminder. I needed it today! Your ministry is very special. Love to you and Carolyn.

  1. Spiritual Isolation: Discovering its power and purpose | Notes of an Imperfect Christian

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