Experience the Holy Spirit in Contemplation | 05

AUTHOR: Holy Scripture

READ:

Read or listen to 1 Kings 19:1–18.

Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “May the gods punish me and do so severely if I don’t make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow!”

Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life. When he came to Beer-sheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there, but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree.

Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, “Get up and eat.” Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. Then the angel of the Lord returned for a second time and touched him. He said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. He entered a cave there and spent the night.

Suddenly, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.”

Then he said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.”

At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs 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 there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

“I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies,” he replied, “but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they’re looking for me to take my life.”

Then the Lord said to him, “Go and return by the way you came to the Wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, you are to anoint Hazael as king over Aram. You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. Then Jehu will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. But I will leave seven thousand in Israel—every knee that has not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Where did Elijah find the voice of the Lord? Is that what you expected?

The written Scripture is CSB, however, the audio Scripture is ESV.

FOCUS:

Read or listen to the blog. What is one thing you learned about what it means to lovingly gaze on Jesus? How can you incorporate what you learned into your daily routines? For example, I will pay attention to the beauty in nature around me, and acknowledge that it is from the hand of God.

How to Remember God in a Breath

by Rachel Nesse

 

I used to be a nursing assistant in an overfilled Alzheimer’s wing at a nursing home. I would run from room to room trying to keep my residents alive and semi comfortable. The pace was frantic, I had zero quiet moments, and I felt like I couldn’t do anything about it. I needed the job. Often during those breakneck-speed shifts, I wondered if God had anything better for me and what he could possibly want for me in this work in the meantime. How was I supposed to flourish with him when all I really could do was survive? “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;” felt like a joke (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV) . 

Have you ever had a season with no quiet moments? When you have felt trapped and unable to “pray without ceasing”? Right now, what workplace situation or patterns are so all-consuming that they steal not only your time and energy but also your ability to pay attention to God?

Perhaps you’re in survival mode from raising kids, working in healthcare or education, a move, or navigating unmet mental or physical health needs. Or perhaps you can’t escape an out of control business issue or you are caught in unwanted conflict. (And if you’re not in the middle of something right now, you will be at some point in the future.) In the intensity of survival, how can you live against the lie that you can only hear God when you have a “quiet day”? 

During those times of survival, one small practice has deeply influenced how I pay attention to God. This practice does not solve busyness or conflict or chaos. And you must develop other restorative spiritual disciplines and patterns as well. In fact, this practice builds off of the secure attachment with God that you’ve developed through rhythms of grace like Bible study, community, and prayer. But, it’s pretty simple: 

 
Breathe in. “God you are here with me.” Breathe out. 

 

In other words, acknowledge God in every space you enter. Practice an awareness of his presence. At the nursing home, I called this my hallway moment. I would literally run the hallway between patient rooms, and right before I knocked on someone’s door to help them, not knowing if John would yell at me again that day or if Susan had fallen or if the need I would encounter would be mundane or an emergency, I would pray, “God you are here with me,” in the hallway. 

That less-than-a-second flare prayer reminded me that God heard John yelling at me too. In fact, reminding myself of God’s presence and caring posture in those moments slowly reshaped how I heard the grumpy yelling—I started to hear God even louder. I could hear God saying that I could be kind and patient and gentle because in that moment God was kind and patient and gentle with me. I could hear God saying that he was there, too.

You may need to breathe “God you are here” when you see your anxiety-inducing coworker walk up to talk with you. Or you may need to breathe “God you are here” right before every signature as you go through your stack of paperwork. Find your hallway moment, and even when nothing is quiet around you, you can intentionally locate a moment’s worth of quiet in your soul with God as you acknowledge “you are here with me.”

When we cultivate an awareness of God’s presence, learning how to pay attention to him, we remember that our good God is always with us. We remember to listen to him—to his heart. We remember that he actually cares about every mundane moment—and that shapes how we live into every mundane moment. Truly, he always pays attention to you and your individual circumstance. And his heart always wants to relate more deeply with yours. Remember to recognize him in your hallway. 

PRAY:

Holy Spirit, increase my awareness of you so that I may hear your gentle whispers.

%

Week 5 of 8 Contemplation

2 Comments

  1. Ramona

    Sometimes I do my own yelling to drown out God’s voice. I’m working on stillness and listening with anticipation and not fear for God’s voice.

    Reply
  2. Paige Wiley

    This is such a gift to read and listen to. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, Rachel!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PREVIOUS POSTS

Share This