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A Gentle Friend

I Kings 19:11-12

And as Elijah stood there the Lord passed by,
and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain;
it was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose,
but the Lord was not in the wind.

After the wind, there was an earthquake,
but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

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.

* * * * *

How did Elijah know that now was the time to come out from behind the rock where he was hiding and talk to the Lord? The Bible says, When Elijah heard it (the gentle whisper), he wrapped his face in his scarf and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Elijah knew God. He had seen his God perform in magnificent, powerful acts! It was Elijah who announced the awesome edict from God: . . . . surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years . . . and there wasn’t. God followed through: He stopped the rain!

Elijah saw with his own eyes the bottomless flour canister and the oil pot that never ran dry. He was there when God breathed life back into the widow’s son.

God sent fire from heaven and burned up the saturated bullock and all of the wet wood and licked up all of the water out of the trenches that Elijah had filled. He even burned the rocks and the dust! Elijah was there. He saw God do it and heard the people yelling at the top of their voices, Jehovah is God! The Lord, He is God!

And when God decided that it was time for the rain to fall, He split open the heavens and the rain fell. Oh, yes. Elijah knew God to be a mighty God! Why did he feel safe, like it was all right now to go out when he heard a gentle whisper?

I don’t know, but I wonder if it was because God wasn’t trying to impress anyone that day. It was just His friend, Elijah, and Himself. You’ll think I’m strange when I say that maybe–just maybe–God is like the great wizard in The Wizard of Oz. Oh, not that He is impotent or manipulative. He does a lot of impressive things, but when you get to know Him, one on one, He’s gentle. A gentle person. When He touches you, His touch is gentle. When He speaks to you, His words are gentle.

Gentle as a dad with his newborn son.
Gentle as a little child reaching out to touch a butterfly.
Gentle as a soft, spring breeze.
Gentle like a mama dog with her litter of pups.

He doesn’t really want me to sit in the grandstand all of the time, watching His glorious acts of power and bragging on Him. He doesn’t want me to always be needing Him to change the water into wine or feed five thousand with five hard little loaves and two little fish. He simply wants to walk with me and talk with me. He wants us to be Friends. Friends! Incredible!

You don’t yell at me, God. You don’t get frustrated and stomp around in Heaven. Even when You scold me, You do it gently. You watch and You know when a tiny sparrow falls. You are a gentle Shepherd. You stooped down, picked up the dirty, frightened little lost lamb, carried him in Your arms, and he wasn’t afraid any longer. I can see that tiny animal snuggling down in Your cloak and Your strong arms holding him…gently. I wonder if You didn’t nuzzle Your chin in the heavy, curly wool on his head? Yes. You are a gentle God.

Oh, I thank You so much for Your gentleness. That takes away my fear, my hesitancy at being in Your presence. I’ve been guilty of putting the wrong inflection in Your voice, making You angry or judgmental. But, God, I know You better now. You didn’t shout at the fierce wind and the tumultuous waves of the raging sea. You spoke gently and said, “Peace. Be still.” You spoke gently to John about Your mother, gently to the lepers, gently even to the embarrassed harlot.

I have been so unfair to You. I have longed for gentleness. I have cried for gentleness–imagined gentleness–and You have been right here all the time. I should have known. Thank You, gentle Jesus, for being my Friend.

His voice is for the ear of love,
and love is intent upon hearing
even the faintest whispers.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.