“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; 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 still small voice.
And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”—1 Kings 19: 11 – 13 King James Version
Elijah had a rough time and was despairing and somewhat depressed with what had been going on around him. There had been a great wind strong enough to upset mountains. If that wasn’t bad enough an earthquake juggled things up pretty good. On top of these calamities came a fire. How terrifying this must have been to behold. God wasn’t in any of these phenomena. Where was He?
“and after the fire a still small voice.”
God was indeed present to Elijah. God’s presence here is like the calm after the storm. The “still small voice” draws our attention to an intimate communion with God. For this to happen there is to be stillness. Stillness is not the same as silence. “Silence is the prerequisite for inner stillness, and only inner stillness enables us truly to listen to God, to hear His voice, and to commune with Him in the depths of our being...” (https://oca.org/reflections/fr.-john-breck/on-silence-and-stillness).
You see, God is not confined to drawing attention to Himself or His works in a booming manner. He does not have to be loud or overbearing. He doesn’t have to scream at us. He is gentle and His voice is “small”, a gentle whisper.
How does this “still small voice” apply to my writing? From my point of view, God’s still small voice is what I need in my writing. It is a stillness that calms my fears and builds my confidence. It is this stillness that allows me to speak healing words into the world through what I write. It is more than sitting quietly and thinking. Stillness is about truly listening for God’s voice deep within.
When I was a chaplain in healthcare I knew that if a person was in pain it was difficult to offer spiritual care to her or him. The pain had to be managed first. Once the person’s pain subsided I could now come alongside the person and listen to their story. My role was to be a healing presence so calmness and stillness were imperative.
I am aware that I am prone to earthquakes or strong winds and even fire that will disrupt my creativity. One of the storms to assail me has been spending more time learning about writing than writing itself. It is, however, the “fire” of my writing that is more disrupting. This fire is the fear in my writing life.
I am aware that the fire of fear burns up precious energy rather than using it for writing. It sears through my mind and heart leaving me at times in ashes. Perhaps I show a lack of faith when I ask myself questions. Who will read my writing? What if I have nothing worth saying or writing about? Such flames of fire must be stopped.
I have to go beyond the fears etc. and calm down, listen and hear that “still small voice.” He has not left me. I can write! Oh, that still small voice is gentle, as He keeps me from straying from the writing path set out before me.
My dear readers and writer friends can you think of anyone who needs stillness? Is there anyone in your life bombarded by the calamities of our culture? There is in my life. We speak for that still small voice, the One who speaks through our writing. How may our writing be a healing presence for our readers? How will you bring that stillness, that healing into someone’s life?