Quiet and Expectant

And after the earthquake there was a fire,

but the Lord was not in the fire.

And after the fire

there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:12 NLT

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
    Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Psalms 5:3

These two verses were brought to my consideration by a Jesus Calling devotion:

“WAIT QUIETLY IN MY PRESENCE while my thoughts form silently in the depths of your being. Do not try to rush this process, because hurry keeps your heart earthbound…”

Jesus Calling, Sept 21 Devotion by Sarah Young

The two things that jump out to me from each verse are “gentle whisper“:

there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:12d

and “wait expectantly“:

Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Psalms 5:3b

In the 1 Kings verse, we see that the LORD wasn’t in the fire, but he revealed Himself by a “gentle whisper”. The King James version calls it “a still small voice” and the Hebrew includes words for “whisper, calm”, “thin, small, fine”, and “voice”. I wonder how easy it would have been to miss that quiet whisper because of the show of the fire? I wonder how many times we might miss what God is telling us quietly and gently because we’re expecting (and hopefully not demanding as well) something big, visible, and show stopping? And imagine the sweetness of an all powerful God — whose angels repeatedly have to tell people “Don’t be afraid” when they are encountered — who quiets Himself to speak to His beloved children. He doesn’t boom like a heavy handed father and send us scouring for cover. No, He speaks to us quietly and gently like a Good Father. And it seems to me that in those times where we are ignoring his quiet whisper that would guide us best, He is willing to let us learn the hard way that it would have been better to consult with Him and listen to Him first.

This, for me, emphasizes the importance of my being still, being quiet, and listening intently to the LORD. As my day can become busy with the demands of family, friends, life, career, ministry — I must not let what is “good” keep me from what is truly BEST. Even though I try to be mindful of the LORD, considering Biblical advice as I go through my day, having short and impromptu discussions with the LORD as I encounter things throughout my day, remembering and considering scripture and passages in their beauty — there is something different about intentional, dedicated, undistracted time seeking God in prayer. Not just a bunch of talking to Him (or “at Him” might be more accurate to describe some of my surface level prayers at times) — but I find that a deeper, listening for Him is so important for renewal and strength.

In the Psalms verse, it points out a part in “waiting expectantly” that is many times overlooked in the rush of sitting down to hot plates at the table and bringing our prayerful requests for “Lord bless this food” even as our mouths are watering for the blessing already provided by the LORD. And even in many of our prayers, can’t the be like some distant, self-absorbed child that is calling back home because of the trouble they have gotten themselves into “Hey dad, I really need some money for rent. Please send it quick. *click*” with us speaking our demands and hanging up the phone rudely without even pretending to genuinely care about the person on the other end of the line.

And I’m not saying that we should “pretend” at loving God either. He knows how we really feel towards Him even more than we do ourselves. We should realize how blessed we truly are that Almighty God loves us and is there for us — not just to provide for our health, wealth, and prosperity like a genie in a bottle — but to be in it with us. How satisfied would I be with my daughter if she asked for a puppy months before her birthday and never spoke to me again until that day came? Even if I gave her the puppy and she said she loved me on that one day while the gift of the puppy was new — wouldn’t I know that soon enough I would be tossed aside until she needed something else? I’m so grateful that my daughter isn’t really like that. She shows me each day how she loves me with hugs, smiles, laughs, time together, conversation, etc. And doesn’t my heavenly Father deserve a better recognition and genuine interaction from me than I do from my daughter?

It is quite convicting to me that the KJV and the Hebrew for the Psalms verse describes this as to “look up”, to “keep watch closely”, and to “observe” — all of which are active descriptions, not passive:

So actively and quietly, we should keep watch, and we should listen.

How have I fallen short in this in days gone by?

What truth can I learn from that about my heart towards God?

Am I remembering how much He has done for me?

LORD, I don’t want this to be a call for us to be more rigid about scheduling time to “have to” spend with you in order to feel better about “giving you what you deserve”. That is not the heart from which true worship springs forth like a fresh fountain of living waters — nor will it produce genuine evidence of that abiding Holy Spirit fire stirred up by the quiet whisper of your counsel. Build upon this foundation of Christ alone, our cornerstone, and may it be your master craftmanship guiding every step of the way. Do not let us suffer shame by building quickly and demanding like Martha that others should be helping with the heavy weight. No, have us childlike in our faith like Mary, sitting at your feet, listening expectantly, grateful for time with our Heavenly Daddy. Amen.

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