Thought for the Day BBC Radio Scotland April 2024

In biblical times, when the prophet Elijah was fleeing from violence, he experienced a memorable revelation of God at the entrance to a cave not far from where the latest violence is raging. First there was a mighty wind, then an earthquake, then a fire – none of which contained God. Then came a still, small voice with which God spoke to Elijah.


Almost three thousand years later, in the same place where Elijah tried to hear God’s voice, mighty winds are blowing, carrying words of accusation and counter accusation as each side hurls threats at the other. And voices from around the world add to this mighty wind of human noise: protest and condemnation adding to words of grievance and self-justification. But God is not to be heard in these words, in this mighty wind.


And there is fire and earthquake, man-made, by rockets and bombs that fall, destroying buildings, hopes and lives. But God is not in the fires that burn from the tails of these missiles. And nor is God in the earthquake, as the ground shakes from the explosions these warring peoples inflict upon each other in this ancient, troubled land.


This is the land in which the still small voice was once heard by Elijah, after the godless wind, fire and earthquake had passed. This is the voice with which God still speaks to us. It demands that we humans treat one another with dignity and respect, no matter what our differences, and seek peaceful solutions to our conflicts.


But the still small voice is lost in the mighty wind of claim and protest, drowned out by the falling debris of the earthquake and the flames of explosion and destruction. 

Helplessly we watch, and we wait, praying for the still small voice to speak to us after the wind, the earthquake and the fire as once it spoke to Elijah. But it will not be heard until the wind, the earthquake and the fire have passed and we, like the ancient prophets, make the effort to listen to it.