The Gentle Whisper of Spirit
The gentle whisper of Spirit is more distinct than clamorous noise.
"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."
(I Kings 19:11-12, NIV)
Spiritual directors companion directees by helping them to discern the movement of Spirit in their lives.
Movement of Spirit can also be referred to as gentle nudges, or the act of listening to Spirit's still, small voice.
All in all, spiritual directors help directees to become increasingly sensitive to the many ways in which Spirit communicates with believers.
Many of you can attest to the challenges faced in discerning Spirit's gentle whisper.
It can often be drowned out by worry, doubt, calamity, fear, failures, the overbearing influence of others, and so on.
In the scripture reference, the fact that Elijah ignored the strong winds, earthquake, and fire, but responded instead to the gentle whisper of God, is a testament to the type of relationship he shared with Spirit.
No one would have blamed him for mistaking the rumblings of the earthquake, intensity of the fire, or gusts of strong wind for the power of God.
Scripturally, God is known for burning down cities and sending floods that some associate with His presence or an act of purification.
So what caused Elijah to ignore the forceful movements and instead respond to Spirit's peaceful movement?
Elijah means, "The Lord is my God."
His ministry reflected his reliance on God, which was evident through his actions.
He followed the movement of God, even when he wrongfully assumed that he was the only person left who genuinely served God (I Kings 19:10, 14).
Reading through I Kings, chapters 17 through 19, many of the sentences begin and/or end with, 'the lord says,' or 'the word of the Lord came to him.'
Elijah was in constant communication with Spirit. He was sensitive to inner nudges.
One definition for relationship is the act of telling or narrating. So for the Lord to consistently tell things to Elijah, one could suggest that he and Elijah were in relationship.
It was through this relationship that Elijah grew to discern between a cacophony and near silence.
You, too, can grow to discern Spirit's gentle whisper. But it is through relationship that you are able to exercise the discernment muscle.
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