My freshman year in college was a tough year. I had endured hardships with friends, ended an unhealthy relationship with a boyfriend, and felt like I had made the wrong choice in colleges. To be honest, I felt lost.
I never felt disconnected from the Lord like this before. I knew He was there. I knew He loved me, but I felt I couldn’t hear Him clearly or feel the closeness any longer. I was confused and uncertain of my future.
Have you ever felt disconnected from God?
This question makes me think of the story of Elijah, one of God’s prophets. During the reign of King Ahab, his wife Jezebel strongly encouraged the Israelites to worship, Baal, who she thought was god. Jezebel set up altars so that people could worship Baal and ordered that all of God’s prophets be murdered. This didn’t sit well with Elijah, as He wanted to teach the Israelites about the God he worshiped (our God), Yahweh. He challenged the people of Israel to believe in Yahweh and even went to King Ahab to demand that the court cease worship of Baal. As you can imagine, this was a difficult task for Elijah.
He stood alone with only the Lord’s presence to guide him.
In time, Elijah claimed victory for God at Mount Carmel when he challenged the worshipers of Baal to build an altar and call upon him to make his presence known. As you can imagine, Baal never showed up.
But when Elijah built his altar for the Lord and called upon Him, the Lord made His presence known.
Do you think Elijah served the Lord like this, but never felt uncertainty? Do you think he doubted if this was what he was supposed to do, and would have loved to hear God clearly?
Let’s look at how Elijah heard God in 1 Kings 19 NIV:
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.”
God does speak. And when He does the impossible becomes possible because of His presence.
But what about the times when we feel we can’t hear God?
Elijah experienced much of what you and I do when we struggle to hear and follow God’s plan for our lives.
He waited for the Lord to speak to him in a big way, but God chose to come to him in a gentle whisper.
Sometimes God will appear to you in a big way and other times it’s subtle, in the little things and moments.
A song may come on the radio at the very moment you need to hear it.
You might be provided with the opportunity to pray for someone or witness to them.
Perhaps a friend in need asks for your help.
Something is laid on your heart that you can’t stop thinking about.
So how does God speak to us?
Our task, much like Elijah’s is to open our hearts and listen through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we are unsure about hearing God, we can ask ourselves these four things:
1. Am I open and ready to hear God with my heart and mind?
2. Am I only being open to what I want to hear?
3. Is my prayer life reflective of my relationship with God?
4. Does what I hear match what Scripture says is true?
Friend, find comfort in knowing that God hears every word you speak (and those you don’t) and He will come to you in various ways. The more you are in tune with Him, the clearer His voice will become to you. Look for Him to speak to you in big and little ways, just as He did with Elijah.
What are some ways in which you have heard God or felt His presence?