I find that the Noise happens in waves. There are chunks of time where it’s relatively quiet and I can walk at a decent pace. Then there are the surges, when all I can do is hold on and hope it doesn’t roll me out flat. It’s during these whirlwind times that I can tend to lose my sense of direction. I come out of them either feeling Stupendous and Exhilarated because I fought the good fight and kept the faith, or else struggling with defeat, discouragement, exhaustion and loneliness, which then makes me feel even more condemned and foolish because I am afraid I failed the test.
Those kinds of whirlwinds can be confusing as heck when they’re happening, and often pretty unnerving because many times things don’t stay the same. Think of some of the storms you’ve been in or seen the aftermath of - the changes can range from bits of branches and leaves all over the road to as serious as car damage from hail, large pieces of patio furniture blown several feet or yards away, roofs caving in from where whole trees have fallen, or worse...
Life can be scary. Even if you fight that good fight and hold fast to the Rock, that doesn’t always mean you’re gonna come through the battles feeling triumphant.
It makes me think of Elijah. You know, the part of his life when he had done some great and mighty things in the Name of God, soundly defeated all the false prophets of Baal, then supernaturally ran like the wind to share the exciting news that rain was finally coming, bringing an end to the famine. Then Jezebel became incensed because all her precious prophets were dead, and she made a very serious death threat against Elijah, and he got out of there quick. I’m sure it felt like a physical and emotional roller coaster for him.
But instead of proudly determining to “be strong and handle it all” because he was, after all, a proven man of God, he showed what being a man of God is all about: he cried his heart out to his Lord. He was crashing after this glorious victory, he was tired and scared, and he didn’t seem to feel embarrassed to be weak enough to hide and cry for help. And God answered him. Not in a condemning, condescending way, but He was loving and kind, and took that moment to teach Elijah another beautiful thing about Himself. He told Elijah to come outside his cave, and stand. And Elijah did.
Then loud, confusing things happened all around Elijah - a mighty whirlwind, powerful enough to literally shatter the ground, then earthquakes, and a fire. But while these things were awesome and terrifying, they weren’t what God was using to speak to Elijah. Maybe Elijah needed to remember how powerful God was so he could take heart and trust Him again. Maybe God needed to help Elijah stay humble by showing him His greatness. But whatever the reason, God showed him those before He really spoke. It wasn’t that those things happened without God - He sent them directly. It was never out of God’s control. He was behind it all. But they were not what God used to personally connect with Elijah. It wasn’t until He spoke through a ‘still, small voice’ that Elijah felt the personal, comforting, yet very sovereign and powerful touch of his Creator.
Sometimes we have to remember that the whirlwinds happen, and it’s ok to sometimes be tired and scared, even if it comes after witnessing the mighty works of God. BUT, in that utter loss of heart, we need to not look to ourselves to ‘buck up and be strong’, but instead cry to God. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed in those times - God doesn’t like that pride that keeps us from calling out to him for help because we think that we should be able to ‘handle this one’.
Let it go. You can’t handle it. But God can. Keep crying to Him.
And then wait for that Gentle Whisper, so full of amazing and utter Love, and be comforted.