Friday, January 19, 2007

After the storm - silence

Yesterday our part of the world was hit by heavy winds and rain. In our little country alone, 5 people died because of fallen trees. In this context it is strange to admit that I actually like to go through a period of rough weather myself. Of course I don't enjoy the dangerous situations and the accidents that happen to people, but I do welcome the change of atmosphere, the strong winds and the fresh showers.
Today it is quiet again. Somebody just shared her sad story with me. I don't know what to say. All her unnecessary pain and needless sorrows - it all just doesn't make any sense to me. Lord, why do you allow these things to happen?
After praying about this, I had to think about Elijah's encounter with the Lord on mount Horeb. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the forces of nature and by life's circumstances. We can be frightened, we can be thrilled, we can be excited and we can be humbled by the same experiences. Sometimes our world suddenly becomes a lonely, dangerous place to live in. As a believer, I ask myself whether God is talking to us - to me - through these circumstances and experiences. Please read this quotation from the first book of Kings and feel free to leave a comment. I'd like to know your thoughts.

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 1 Kings 19:11-12

I enjoy the quiet times after the storm. I want to listen to the gentle whisper and recognize God's still, small voice. He is mighty and awesome, I feel so weak and vulnerable. I think about the climate changes, the ongoing wars, the suffering of people I don't know and of people I love. Are you speaking to me, dear God? Am I looking for you in the fire, earthquakes and storms, only to find that you are right here - in the stillness of my heart?


Rodney Olsen said...

Great post.

This is my first visit to your blog. It won't be my last. :)

Vicki said...

The stormy weather can be frightening, can't it? A large part of the US has also experienced some rough weather recently (heavy ice, snow, etc.), so many people will appreciate the time of peace and quiet after the storm when all the heat and electricity is restored.

I, too, have posted songs, hymns, and scripture on my blog (my Blogger one). Sometimes just reading over a hymn or scripture will give inspiration, sometimes it doesn't, but it does give lots to think about.

Thanks for your eloquent post. Blessings!

Tommi Karjalainen said...

Hi Paul! Thank you for visiting my blog. I just wrote in english also to my reflections -page. It was about the concert also, but different idea. See ya!

Art said...

Hi Paul. My, you are getting popular aren't you!

After some unseasonably warm weather, it's finally getting cold here.

My thoughts on the 1 Kings passage would be in two parts: to the people at that time, it was common to think of nature as being a god. So part of the message is don't be like your pagan neighbors and pray to the mountian, wind, etc. Yahweh transcends that limited thinking.

That's not much of a problem for most of us these days but there is another message here. God is not always seen in those mountain-top experiences. God can be seen, experienced or felt in the more mundane, everyday experiences. Or in the quite times when we discover to our utter amazement that God dwells in our very own hearts.

Nice post, btw.

Panda said...

Thanks for the comments everybody!

@ Rodney - hope to see you more often - great to see some new faces. I will visit your blog too! Thanks for passing by.

@ Vicki - looks like the weather is getting more and more unpredictable these days. At least it gives us something to blog (and worry) about... ;-)

@ Tommi - nice to hear from you, brother! Keep up the good work in Hanko & Tammisaari! Hope you keep on blogging in English too, I know how hard it is, but with our small language areas we really don't have an option :-) And it is nice to get in touch with people abroad, right?

@ Art - yes, I like to meet as many friends as possible here! ;-) I like friendly people in real life, and I like to meet them here as well. I agree with you, God is not "in" the forces of nature, although we can see them as manifestations of His power (like we can read in some Psalms). There's so much noise everywhere... we just need to have quiet times and look for peaceful places, just to be alone with our Creator and to listen to Him. It's like fine-tuning to a station that is hard to receive in this world filled with other voices!

Thanks, guys. I appreciate all your thoughts. Please keep them coming!