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God Is Not in the Wind, Earthquake and Fire?

Elijah "came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away" (I Kings 19:9-10). Elijah was alone and tormented - the dreadful Jezebel had sworn to have him killed that very day. He had also desired to remove himself from the corruption consuming the land, for he saw that the children of Israel were ignoring the Commandments, and, as a consequence, he suspected that God had deserted them. But right in the midst of his self-serving retreat, Christ was about to show Elijah a picture of his own thoughts so that he could improve upon them. This was a teachable moment, and Christ was searching Elijah's thought for a way to open his eyes to omnipotent Mind.

God's angel said, "Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice" (I Kings 19:11-12). When the Lord first passed by, Elijah felt the effects of a great and strong wind. Mary Baker Eddy defines wind as "that which indicates the might of omnipotence and the movements of God's spiritual government, encompassing all things" and also as "destruction; anger; mortal passions" (SH 597:27). Elijah did not see the wind as the power of the Lord; he saw destruction, anger, and mortal passions, which were wholly inadequate to govern the heavens harmoniously. He did not see the Lord in the earthquake either. When severe trials shook the very foundation of his faith, he fell away from Love's gentle presence and momentarily forgot his true identity and sense of surety. And when the Lord passed by and there was a fire illustrating his inflamed passions, Elijah thought the Lord was unavailable - not able to protect and preserve man. But divine Love always meets the human need. The law of good came to where Elijah was, spoke his language and lifted him up: in the midst of all his mental chaos he could hear a still small voice. "The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, 'as when a lion roareth.' It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear" (SH 559:10). Once conscience and intuition had gotten Elijah's attention, he was impelled to return to his people and meet them where they were, even anointing a king to rule over them, as they desired. Had he known that the Lord was in the fire, as did the three Hebrew men thrown into the Babylonian furnace, he would have felt God's ever-presence passing by and would not have turned into the dark cave of mortal fear. Had he been unshaken by his irreverent brethren, he could have seen the foundations of heaven where the earthquake seemed to be. If he had been aware of the omnipotence and the movements of God's spiritual government, Elijah would have felt God's presence in the wind, and, by his example, the Children of Israel might have returned to the rules of divine order and risen above their demand for an oppressive king.

It is important to note that Elijah grew spiritually with each experience and ultimately mastered his fears. He found God everywhere, even in the wind and fire. "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire; . . . and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" II Kings 2:11).

  O Lord my God, . . . who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. (Ps 104:1, 3-5)

George Denninger ©

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