By  Susan Klemond



“…a still small voice…there a voice came to him.” ~1 Kings 19: 12b, 13b



Before the Lord told Elijah to listen because he would pass by the prophet’s cave on Mount Horeb, God asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 

It must have seemed like a strange question coming from the all-knowing God who had just made it possible for the prophet to run for 40 days and nights to avoid the evil queen Jezebel after God had enabled him to expose and kill the prophets of Ba’al, but Elijah recounted what had happened.

Now standing on a mountaintop, Elijah discerned that God was not in a strong, rock-crushing wind, an earthquake, or a fire.

When he did recognize the Lord in a tiny whispering sound, Elijah covered his face and waited in his cave, maybe for a great revelation. Instead, God asked him the same question as before, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 

Without showing frustration, Elijah gave the same answer as before. God didn’t pursue it further and gave him his next assignments.

 Discerning God’s Voice

It’s easy to think that prophets such as Elijah had a direct line to God, and maybe at times, he did. But there had to be moments when it was difficult to discern God’s voice and understand his will. I think the fact that Elijah recognized the Lord’s passing by him in a whisper proves that he’d long trained his ear to hear God speaking to him.

Elijah listened, but he also asked God questions, including, What now, God? What is your will for my life? What do you want me to do?

As someone who’s asked these questions without receiving answers right away, I think it’s tempting to feel like God’s not really listening, especially when you’ve been seeking him in prayer for a long time.  

 Does God also want answers?

But maybe, as the prophet Elijah experienced, God’s also waiting for our answers. Even though he already knows what we’re doing, it could be that he wants us to tell our side of the story and confide in him our joys, fears, and disappointments. In the process, we start to see how he’s been part of our story.

I think the more we get used to talking to God about the events in our day and seeing how he has acted in our lives; it’s easier to recognize him in whatever way he passes by.

Note: God’s questions to Elijah appear in the second half of the reading’s first verse (9b) and the second half of the last verse (13b). These parts of the verses are directly before and after the Mass reading, but I thought they provided context for the reading. 




Lord, let my prayer be a holy conversation with you. Please show me how to recognize your voice and all the ways you are working in my life

Call to Action

 Spend time with the Lord, especially in the evening, reviewing the day’s events. Share what you’re thankful for and where you can improve. An excellent way to do this is with the Daily Ignatian Examen.



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