Reflections: Monday of the Fifth Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 19:11-12
Daily Lectionary: Joshua 23:1-16; Acts 12:1-25

And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. (1 Kings 19:12)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Elijah is hiding in a cave waiting to die. He forgot how to be disappointed, because he forgot how to hope. That’s bad. Hopelessness is not natural. We were created to hope. God made us to worship Him, to fear, love, and trust in Him. Children are born trusting in their parents’ voices. They look at the world in wonder and pretend to be the things we’ve long given up on. Hope only goes away painfully–by having it beaten and crushed and kicked until it’s ground down to nothing. One of the hardest things in the world is to see children who aren’t disappointed by their parents anymore. Elijah is hiding in a cave, not because he doesn’t believe God exists, but because he doesn’t think he can depend on God.

The reason so many of us have given up hope is that we look for God in places He isn’t. It’s a trick the devil uses to grind down hope. Even fallen sinful man loves to put hope in the wrong thing. It’s called an idol. So Satan points us to where God isn’t and asks why He isn’t there. That makes more sense than we want to admit. God is not in the power of the fire or the earthquake. The small whispering word doesn’t seem too impressive. I cannot by my own reason or strength believe that God works in mercy and not in power. That has to come from somewhere else. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the low whispering Word of Christ.

And He still speaks. What are you doing here? Why are you hiding? Why are you afraid? You’re not as alone as you think. God would not limit Himself to your good days or your good attitude. He passes by Elijah, whispering words of peace and hope, and He passes by you, too. Not to rush past, but to dive into the valley of the shadow of death, that hope would live where there rightly should be none.

There were great earthquakes and sham trials by firelight that pierced the darkness where they accused our Lord of blasphemy and worse, as Peter hid in the courtyard. There was wind that blew as it wished, and the gale of the crowd who cried for His death. But the words worth hearing were whispered from a Cross: “It is finished.” He has died for you. The sun came back to the sky, the earth stopped shaking, but it’s still finished. Hope. For Christ is risen. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

To hope grown dim, to hearts turned cold Speak tongues of fire and make us bold To shine Your Word of saving grace Into each dark and loveless place. (“Lord Jesus Christ, with Us Abide” LSB 585, st.3)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch