I climbed the hill behind our house yesterday for the second time. It seemed steeper to me than I remembered. As I climbed, I reminded myself of the story about “The Tortoise and the Hare” which clearly shows us that the race is not to the swift, but to those who endure to the end. Panting for breath, I encouraged myself to keep climbing although my legs felt like lead. I used a reward of rest as incentive to finish the climb. After several long minutes, I reached a roadside memorial near the top of the hill. The simple stone column and two park benches sat among the vineyards and reminded all who passed by that Joseph Kolleman, 100 years ago, had championed the cause of cultivating vineyards on the hills around our city. I had never heard of him, but was glad to rest in the place his memorial provided.
I sat down on the bench, not thinking of vineyards, but of my present situation. The cold wind was gusting against my back. I knew it was not a wind from the North Pole, but it seemed like it. The simple gesture of pulling the hood of my parka over my head made me think of Elijah. On a windy mountain, he also pulled his coat over his head. Unlike Elijah, my wind was not as fierce, nor did I see fire, nor feel the earth quake. Nevertheless, like Elijah, the still small voice came to me also.
As He unfolded Elijah’s story to me, I realized that events had robbed me of my trust in God. He showed me that His purposes and His heart were bound together with mine. He allowed me to feel how much He loved me and let me know that in the total scheme of things I was important to Him.
As I sat looking over the valley and listening to the Lord, I recalled how He refreshed and revitalized Elijah. God told him to anoint two kings and a prophet to succeed him in ministry. He sent him back into the fray of life with three new tasks to perform. To encourage him, God also told Elijah several thousand people were honoring their faith commitment and had not bowed their knee to the idols of the day.
As I rehearsed these events, weighing their importance to me at this moment in my life, I knew that God had subtly readjusted my thinking. Instead of doubting, I believed again. Trust had found its rightful place. I felt refreshed, ready to continue the tasks to which He had called me. In those few moments, He turned my mind from doubt to faith, and my heart from fear to trust.
It is easy to be sidetracked by life, especially by that segment of life we call people. When threatened by evil, Elijah forgot that he was called of God for a specific purpose. He ran to hide because of fear. He forgot that with the purpose of God comes protection and power to complete the purpose. I had also forgotten, but the still small voice reminded me of my purpose and the call. He reminded me that I belonged to Him, and that His purpose always supersedes any plans that the enemy may devise.
The ability to hear the still small voice at any moment is why we must always maintain a climate of prayer in our hearts. Faithfulness in daily prayer and reserving time in that prayer to quietly sit in His presence, create a base from which God can speak to us. I try never to leave my place of prayer without giving time for Him to speak to me. I have learned that to hear His voice is the purpose of prayer.
Like Elijah, we may be strong and stand before the world declaring the Word of the Lord, or like him, we run away to hide in a cave when things go wrong. We must leave the cave sometime, and to be able to hear the still small voice giving direction will make all the difference in the way we live the rest of our lives. It doesn’t matter if we are strong, weak, in top form, or in hiding. What matters is that we are able to hear His voice.
Elijah walked down from the mountain with renewed energy to complete the tasks God called him to do. I also walked down from my mountain refreshed, ready to continue walking in God’s purposes for me. The cold wind I had faced walking up the hill seemed friendlier to me as I turned toward home. Walking down the hill, I was again grateful that I knew how to pray and to hear the still small voice.
The still small voice tells us: You have
a place in Me. I have
a plan for you. It is your
purpose-a reason for living.
A. C. Craft