He (God) said (to Elijah the prophet), “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces 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 sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”1 Kings 19:11-13
Elijah the prophet had his shorts in a knot because the world as he had known it was crumbling around him. He had angered the queen by standing up to her nonsense. She then sent him a message that he was toast. Elijah wisely took off for the wilderness. After a few days he sat down under a tree exhausted. Elijah told God how discouraged he was and begged God just to take him now for he felt he was an abject and total failure. God would have none of it. An angel brought Elijah a snack. Then he took a nap. Fortified, he hiked even deeper into the wilderness where he took shelter in a cave.
Here is where we find Elijah having his conversation with God. God told him that he needed to come out of the cave because He, God, was about to pass by. What happened was impressive. The great wind split mountains wide open and broke rocks. The earth shook and trembled. Fire raged. God was saying, “When I pass by, what you had thought so solid cracks wide open.” Elijah must have been terrified. He must have wondered, “what then can I rely on?” The answer came immediately. After the fire there came the sound of sheer silence. From that deep pool came the voice of God, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Each of us must hear that question from our Christ within, just as Elijah did. And we must respond. In Elijah’s case, he had a bit of back and forth with God, resulting in God instructing him how to go forward in building a better nation. Elijah was to return to the places where he had felt so harassed and bring, with ever greater love and strength, the good news of God’s Presence. Elijah did as he was guided, and the result was a better world.
In the Love and Light of the Christ,