“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.”
1 Kings 19:11-12 (NLT)
So how do we do it?
We may not be there now, but we know we are going to find ourselves once again faced with a decision like Elijah was, which we can’t seem to make. Maybe later today, maybe tomorrow or the next day. It’s inevitable. And where we can’t seem to decide. We get a lot of input from others, but we’re still not sure. Which is the right way to go? How will we know?
The answer is—the same way you may have done it before in your quietest and best moments. In those quiet times where, whether you knew it or not, you spent time with, and heard from the God who created you.
The same way we need to every day when we are confronted with a decision between choices “A”, or “B”, or even “C.” Spending quiet time with God. When God is speaking to you in that “still small voice” or that “gentle whisper” referred to when He appeared to Elijah as recorded in the book of 1 Kings, above.
Because it’s that still small voice of God, and only that voice of God, which will direct you in your journey on the right path and toward the life of significance and impact God intended for you to live. It is that voice, and only that voice, which will provide the wisdom needed to make the right decision.
When the road before you shifts, or you reach a fork in that road, or a bend in the road appears which opens onto a side-street leading to temptation, or a bridge is out in front of you, or your life seems to have come to a stand-still—what voices do you listen to for the help you need in taking the next step?
What we’d all like, no doubt, is to hear that loud, booming voice of God or to get some other clear sign to help with the choice we have before us. Maybe something plastered on a billboard on the side of the road or flashed on a scoreboard at a stadium or written clearly in the clouds with a divine finger.
It hasn’t happened to me that way, and I suspect it’s not the way it happened to you, whenever you were confronted with and moved toward a decision.
Instead that “gentle whisper” or “still small voice” of God that Elijah heard is how God comes to us. And it’s often couched in the familiar tones of a loved one’s voice—someone who has no agenda but your own best interest. Or maybe it comes in a gentle word from someone who doesn’t care what your resume says about you. They only care about you and what is best for you.
It happens when you begin to think of how the decision you’re facing would affect others close to you, not just yourself; or whether you think God would be smiling down upon you if you made one decision over another.
That “gentle whisper” of the voice of God usually won’t be found in the voices of your own isolated personal ambitions, career, or in striving for wealth or power. And it probably won’t be found in the voices of the crowds pointing the way to the latest craze of popularity.
However, that “gentle whisper” may, in fact, come as we spend time with Him in prayer, and in reading His Word and seeking to align our hearts with the heart of God and consider His desires for our life, our loved ones, and others, and the impact and influence our decision may have on them.
From our own personal experiences—in remembering when we have made both bad decisions as well as good ones—we will realize that the closer we come to making a decision that looks beyond self, and seeks to come closer to the God who loves us, we will come closer to hearing that “gentle whisper’ and that “still small voice” of God to help us with our decision at the fork in the road.
When we seek to align our decisions with our God-ordered priorities, consistent with the eternal values we know God wants us to embrace in our life—then the closer we will come to hearing that “gentle whisper” and that “still small voice” of God.
And in that we will find the wisdom we need to move us in the right direction for whatever choice is before us.
A decision which will move us closer to that life of significance, impact and legacy we were created to live.
A decision which will continue to move us closer to the God who created us—and to that divine “gentle whisper.”
In His Name–Scott