We expect an encounter with God to be dazzling, dramatic, and nearly indescribable. But the Holy can show up in subtle ways, as well — at times and in ways that we least expect it.
1 Kings 19:11-13
retold by Deborah
The voice said, “Go out and pray on the side of the mountain.” And, sure enough, God’s presence drew near to him — and a huge windstorm arose, tearing at the tree limbs and throwing boulders down into the valley below; but it wasn’t God. The earth trembled, shaking the very foundations of the mountain and knocking Elijah off his feet; but that was not God. Lightning crackled and snapped all around; the sky turned white — it was as if the whole world were on fire. But that was not God.
Then all was quiet. A sweet, gentle stillness filled the air.
And when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his robe, and stood in the entrance to the cave. And — just imagine! — a voice, a heavenly voice, spoke to him, saying, “What do you think you’re doing, Elijah?”
This psalm was written as the old year ended and the new one began, and serves to remind us of the ways in which the Beloved has been — and will continue to be — present in our lives.
“No one can see God and live,” say the Scriptures.
But I have. I have seen Your face, O God,
I have seen Your face — and lived.
I have beheld Your handiwork
in sunshine and starlight,
in sand dunes and snowdrifts,
in forests and fields,
in caverns and on mountain tops,
in oceans and tide pools.
I have met You
on street corners and staircases,
grocery stores, garages, clinics, and cocktail bars,
sitting, standing, and in strollers,
on skateboards, scooters, and roller blades,
on bicycles, tricycles, and in wheelchairs.
I have heard You speak
from sofas, barcaloungers, and barstools,
kitchen chairs, couches, and hospital beds, words of wisdom,
of solace, encouragement, and hope
when I thought I was all alone.
Again and again
You’ve called my name
in voices sweet and low,
on telephone calls,
and soft whispers that only I can hear.
I have encountered You,
O Gracious God,
in grace-filled lives:
in feats of strength,
acts of courage,
and persistent faithfulness;
I have known Your mercy
in the compassion of those
who have cared for me:
the funny, the fierce,
the blunt, the brash,
the tender, and the inexpressibly kind.
I have seen Your tracks and traces and fingerprints,
I see them everywhere:
in the sky, the stars, the sun, and the earth,
the lilies of the field, the sturdy oak,
the clouds overhead
and the snow that lies on the ground.
I cherish these things, but O, My Lord,
they only hint at the glory divine,
for Your face I have truly seen
and not simply lived, but thrived
for Your face, my God, I see revealed
in those who have filled my life with love.
Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,
Reflect on the times that you have seen “the face of God” in your life.