In A Whisper

Read 1 Kings 19:9b-13a

Being heard in the midst of a loud crowd or in a spacious environment can create a challenge for a leader or speaker. In order to overcome this challenge, one might amplify one’s voice by utilizing a megaphone or a microphone, amp and speakers. Another method which has been suggested appears to go contrary to the intended goal…use a quiet voice. This method is akin to the idea of reverse psychology. If individuals in a group see the persons peaking by observing the movement of the mouth, they will quiet themselves and often those  around them because they are curious. They want to hear what is being said since it may have some impact on them. They do not want to miss out.

In the reading from1 Kings today, God seems to employ such a tactic with Elijah. God desires to have Elijah’s full attention. Instead of being known in a loud and shattering way such as using a mighty wind, an earthquake or a large fire, God chooses a whisper. This clearly gets Elijah’s attention and Elijah listens intently to God. This is the response which God sought.

There are times when we have a strong desire to hear God. It may be during a time of great fear and stress as Elijah was experiencing. Maybe we are considering a life transition. Whatever the circumstance, we hunger to hear a message from God. Since we know God to be all-powerful, our expectation is that God will show up in some boisterous and dramatic way. We get frustrated when this does not happen and may conclude that God really does not care. However, from Elijah we learn that often God chooses the quiet and gentle way in order to truly get our attention so the message will be heard.

If you are seeking God’s presence and message, maybe you need to stop looking for a loud thunderbolt and instead pay attention to the gentle whispers in your life.

Don’t Worry

In the late 1980s, Bobby McFerrin released a song entitled, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Here are the opening stanzas of that song:

Here’s a little song I wrote

You might want to sing it note for note

Don’t worry, be happy

In every life we have some trouble

But when you worry you make it double

Don’t worry, be happy

Don’t worry, be happy now

Bobby McFerrin

McFerrin reminds us that when we worry, our troubles double. Easier said than done, right?

This concept of being worry free is not a new one. Jesus introduced this same thought as we find recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew. (See Matthew 6:25-34) Jesus points out here that worrying cannot add a single hour to our lives. In fact, scientists tell us that excessive worrying has a very negative impact upon us physically. (See this article from WebMD) So what do we do about our worrying?

I think that we worry when we do not feel we are in control of a situation. We cannot decide the outcome. In these moments, the feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming. Since it appears that control is not in our hands, we do the only thing which seems within our control—we worry.

Once again, the words of Jesus found in Matthew can be helpful. Jesus tells us to seek out the Father in such times. He says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Something in our control is presented to us here. We can seek God, an action within our control. We are not helpless. God gives us a promise that if we seek God, all which we NEED will be given to us.

Bobby McFerrin had it right — Don’t worry, be happy. Instead of worrying, we can be happy in the knowledge that the Father knows what we need and will supply those needs for us.