Elijah’s life was filled with massive displays of God’s power. In 1 Kings 17:1, when Elijah first arrives on the scene, he predicts a devastating drought, and God moves to make it happen. In verses 14-16, Elijah tells the widow of Sidon that her flour and oil will never be emptied, and again God comes through. Later, the widow’s son dies and Elijah, by the power of God, raises him from the dead (1 Kings 17:20-22). Then, in perhaps the most famous account in the life of Elijah, God sends fire down from heaven to consume not only Elijah’s offering, but the wood and the alter, the water covering the altar and the ground surrounding it. (1 Kings 18:30). And After all this, God sends rain on the land again, but only at the request of Elijah.
With such an incredible display of God’s power, it should be no surprise that Elijah expected God to move similarly while he was hiding from king Ahab in the desert. But God comes to him in a very different way. Here is the account:
And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke 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. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.
This whisper was the voice of God, coming softly to Elijah in the midst of his turmoil. He needed this reminder of God’s comfort. With such great displays of power, Elijah was not in need of another huge miracle, he needed God the comforter of the persecuted. In that moment, Elijah was strengthened to continue. And we can be sure that God will still speak to His children in this way. Sometimes, we need displays of power, but often, we need to be comforted in the same way that Elijah needed. And we can rest in the fact that God always comforts His children who are in need of it.