In Chapter 2 (“Our Communicating God”) of The Power of a Whisper, Pastor Bill Hybels relates the story of Elijah as found in 1 Kings 19. Described as “zealous for God”, Elijah has reached rock-bottom in his ministry. The Israelites have forsaken God and murdered His prophets. Now only Elijah remains, and the Israelites are trying to do him in as well.
An angel tells Elijah to go to Mt. Horeb. Although Elijah looks for God to pass by in the wind, fire and earthquake, Elijah finally found God in a “gentle and quiet whisper” (v. 13). Pastor Hybels notes that Elijah witnessed 2 attributes of God while on Mt. Horeb- He’s relational and He is near. Bill then adds:
“The God of Scripture is irrepresibly communal, hopelessly familial, and his whispers are still ours to hear.”
There was a time in the author’s spiritual life when he, like Elijah, thought of God in non-relational ways, looking for God in the passive weather patterns of his live, oblivious to God’s presence right by his side. When Bill thought of God in non-relational ways, Christianity simply was a “compilation of theoretical ideas about God”. As Jeff Manion comments in The Land Between, there comes a time when we need to put our theoretical knowledge into practice.
Adversity compels us to re-examine our relationship to God. Pastor Hybels concludes: “. . . Scripture declares that our faith is relational- God listens when we speak through prayer, and we are to listen when he speaks through his whispers.”