Daily Dose, July 16 — Mountaintop Experiences

 

He said, “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?” 

He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”

Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.” (1 Kings 19:11-16)

 

Since I was young, I think I’ve always been drawn to mountains. I enjoy time spent at the beach, but my preference for a place that truly feeds my soul and spirit will always be the mountains. It’s as if they call to me — as if they contain the voice of God. I go to the mountains and I see the undeniable hand of an artistic and powerful creator. I see beauty and majesty. I FEEL majesty when I’m there.

One thing I love to do when I’m in the mountains is to stop and just listen. I like to be still. One thing I love about this practice is that the sounds constantly change when I’m in the mountains. Compared to the beach, where the steady and predictable sound of waves on the share can lull you into a sleepy submissions, the sounds I hear in the mountains seem to only heighten my senses. I become more alert. When you stop and listen, you hear things that you ordinarily miss. It could be in a bird’s unique call. Maybe it’s the sound of the wind in the trees — and how the sound changes when the wind changes directions. And there’s always the gentle sound of a running stream somewhere nearby. Did I mention that I love the mountains?

I’ve always enjoyed reading the story from today about Elijah. One reason that I love it is that it happens on a mountain! But that’s not the only reason I like it. I like it because it reminds me that God’s power is on display everywhere. God is capable of speaking to us in the majestic forces of his creation. Nowhere on earth is void of the hand of God. He is speaking to us all the time. When I’m on a mountaintop, all I need to do is be present and open my eyes to understand that God is present. But sometimes, even when I do that, I don’t really hear God’s message to me. Elijah had to look beyond the obvious and pay attention to the subtle. He had to truly listen. God’s voice to us can sometimes be mighty and powerful…and at other times it can be gentle and low…like a whisper.

Maybe God is speaking directly to you today. Will you be still long enough to truly listen? — Rev. Brad Greene