A STILL, SMALL VOICE
1 Kings 19:9, 11-13,
Have you ever felt bitterly disappointed and discouraged…or felt like you were sinking and drowning in difficult circumstances? Silly question…because almost all of us have had those or similar feelings at one time or another. In today readings the Lord rescued His servants Elijah and Peter out of very trying situations and His “still, small voice” will rescue us as well.
When we meet Elijah today, he had just come from his great victory over the Prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, where the Lord answered his prayer by sending fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice. Elijah then put the Prophets of Baal to the sword. Afterward, he prophesied that a heavy rain would fall when the sky was perfectly clear, and so it happened. Victory after victory! But in our first reading, Elijah is running for his life, hiding in a cave from the forces of the wicked Queen Jezebel, who was seeking to kill him. Elijah is afraid, dejected and dispirited when the Lord spoke to him in a “tiny whispering sound,” the “still, small voice.” The word of the Lord encouraged Elijah and clarified his mission, which was to anoint Hazael and Jehu as kings and Elisha as his successor.
In the Gospel Peter also experiences the comforting voice of the Lord Jesus, who was walking on the water: “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid.” Peter obeys the Lord’s word, “Come,” getting out of the boat and starting to walk on the water toward Jesus. So far, so good! But we see how the story ends. The wind and the waves were strong and Peter experienced fear. Beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately, Jesus rescued him while gently scolding him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And it would be Peter who, when he had “turned back” after denying the Lord, would strengthen his brethren and shepherd the flock of Christ.
Elijah was hiding in fear and discouragement. Peter experienced anxious fright as he sank in the sea. And in the second reading, Paul also writes with “great sorrow and constant anguish” about his own people, the Israelites. He couldn’t bear the thought that they would not accept the Messiah, the Savior, who came from their seed “according to the flesh.” The “still, small voice” must have comforted Paul about this, for he states in a later passage in Romans: “All Israel will be saved…for the gifts and call of God are irrevocable.”
GOD’S VOICE IN OUR DIFFICULTIES
Today’s readings should give us much hope and encouragement. God spoke to Elijah and strengthened him for another mission. The voice of the Lord called and rescued Peter. The Lord reassured Paul about his own Israelite people. In our own trials and difficulties, let us pray in the words of today’s Collect: “Father, bring to perfection in our hearts the spirit of adoption…that we may merit to enter the inheritance which you have promised.” May we always listen carefully for the Lord’s word, even and especially when He speaks in a “still, small voice.”