Today, I found myself thinking about Elijah learning that God was making Himself known to him in unfamiliar ways. Elijah had known God make His presence and will known in very dramatic ways, but there came a day when he did not find God in the dramatic occurrences of a hurricane, an earthquake or a fire, but in the sound of silence – normally translated as “a still small voice.” You can read the story for yourself in 1 Kings 19. It was not that the true and living God would not speak in dramatic ways again. In the New Testament He spoke to the early church and indeed to unbelievers by hurricane, tongues of fire and also by an earthquake that shook a building. He has done so throughout the centuries and continues to do so today in places where His presence is hungered after and sought in true earnestness no matter how He may choose to manifest His glory.
There is a paradox in growing in our knowledge of God. He teaches us how to recognise His presence but the familiar must never become merely a process by which God is bound to operate. I remember when I was an assistant minister that my method of preparing sermons was to take an empty piece of paper, look at a bible passage, pray, look up commentaries, make notes. God met me in doing that. There came a day however where when I was doing the familiar thing I did not find His familiar help or presence. By night time the page was still empty and I thought I would have to get out of the ministry! I think I wrote about that difficult moment in a previous blog. The next morning though, God helped me, as did my boss, Rev. Ian Paterson, with words of simple and kind wisdom. God taught me that though what I was doing was an approach to preparation He could bless, there were other ways for Him to speak to me and help me. I will not share the “ins and outs” of that lest you are tempted to make what I share from that experience yet another process!
It was an important lesson. All of a sudden a fresh grace was released to help me preach. At various times over the years God has come to me in fresh ways to do with that aspect of my calling. I have discovered that as I have listened and learned from His Spirit, that the well of God’s grace and help is indeed deep and never runs dry. If I keep listening then I know there will be grace to do all that is asked of me for all my days. I no longer have a confidence in methods, but my confidence in God has grown. Sometimes, though, there is an interim period of wrestling until I acknowledge with discomfort that I am not finding God in the place I have found Him before and then step out not knowing precisely whither I am going, or where I may find His welcome presence resting.
Maybe you did “the same as usual today,” the usual things that help you become aware of God and what He is trying to say and how He is leading but today “it’ “didn’t work!” Well, that can feel a bit scary but see it as an adventure to discover the God you know adding to the variety of ways in which He wants to help you discover His will for you in Christ Jesus. It does not mean you must abandon your normal practice forever; rather God may be putting an extra arrow in your quiver, to help you into the fullness of His will and into greater overcoming.
P.S – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is
In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.