Listen and Be Still.

As we all know, life has its ups and downs. And sometimes the change can be both sudden and dramatic. Witness the impact the covid-19 pandemic has had on everyday living!

Until the middle of March all was well, then, within days life ground to a halt. A new word entered our vocabulary, Ďlockdowní. Even church buildings were closed!

If we read 1st Kings 19: 9-18 we can see that life for Elijah had also taken a sharp turn for the worse. Until only recently, all had been going well. He had been courageous and confident.

Now he was alone, frightened and hiding in a cave. It wasnít a virus that posed a threat to the Prophet, however, it was a person; Queen Jezebel.

As Godís Prophet, he had earlier confronted Jezebelís pagan prophets of Baal. It was a confrontation which led to their subsequent defeat and demise.

Jezebel was furious and vowed to take Elijahís life. He, in turn, panicked and in desperation, fled south into Judah and the desert until he eventually reached Mount Horeb, also known as the holy mountain of Mount Sinai, where he took refuge in a cave.

He was so low and had sunk into such a deep state of depression that he prayed he might die. He could see nothing other than his problems and the difficulties he was facing.

Elijahís solitude was broken by God coming to him on Mount Horeb, but not in the way he expected. He expected Godís presence would be announced and experienced in a great and spectacular show of power.

Instead, he came to Elijah as a ďgentle whisperĒ (1st Kings 19:12). A whisper that brought calm and comfort to that troubled, lonely man.

A gentle voice which reminded Elijah that despite what he thought, he was not alone. God reminds him that there were also 7,000 others who were loyal to God. Elijah was far from alone!

While Elijah ran away and hid in a cave, when we have problems we might just quietly withdraw into ourselves and our own world. Sometimes when we are at a low point in life, we can feel alone.

God reminded a tired and downcast Elijah that he was one of many. He was part of a wider community of Godís people; thousands and thousands of which, in his fear and depression, he had forgotten.

In the same way, we are reminded that, as part of Godís family, we are also one of many. We too are part of a community; the Church, the Body of Christ. A community that has Christ as its head.

Too often, we can struggle on our own, blind to the fact that we are surrounded by Godís people. Each one, as Christís disciples, called to show care and compassion for each other.

Today, while we may not be able to meet as we want, we are not far from the love of God that is found in his people.

When we are tired, despondent, uncertain about the future and feeling like giving up, let us listen for God in the silence.

Let us experience His presence in the calm and peace that He can bring to us and our living; even in the most troubled and confusing times of our lives.

Let us remember that we can be supported and helped not only by God, but also by all the people who are part of His church.

At all times, let us listen to for that Ďgentle whisperí. The still, small voice of God calling us, encouraging us, challenging us and drawing us to Him.

Then, like Elijah, put our fears and concerns behind us and go on in new strength and life.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, in our life there are so many other voices demanding our attention; help us to focus only upon You, and You alone, to hear Your voice within.

At times, we can get so concerned and fraught over so little. So, we pray that in weakness, you will be our strength. In poverty, be our wealth. In loneliness, be our comfort. In sadness, be our joy.

Forgive us for the times our fears and inhibitions have kept us from fully trusting You. Speak to us in the midst of the struggles of daily living. Speak to us in the ordinary events of everyday life. Speak to us and help us listen to Your still, small voice.

Amidst the turmoil, enable us to be still and know that You are God.

Amen, and may God bless us all with His Peace, today and always.

Alan.