I’ve been told by some that I’m judgmental, and I’ve worried that I might be judgmental because of my struggles with church and church related things. Our own individual experiences and perceptions may appear to be judgmental to others with very different experiences and perceptions, but saying we should be careful and aware that these may not be God himself (not that they aren’t of God, or can’t be used for good, but that they aren’t God himself) isn’t wrong, though at first glance I know that can be upsetting. (I’m a former Pentecostal. Believe me I know.)

But watch:

1 Kings 19:At that moment, the LORD passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

It doesn’t say that the wind, the fire, the earthquake and so forth weren’t associated with God or that there wasn’t great power in them. It doesn’t say we should run from them or fear them or never experience them. What it does say is that there is something beyond those things that may not be what we expect — a still small voice, a whisper. And that may be even more powerful than all of the rest of it put together.

It might be good to remember: whereas one person may have enjoyed the excitement of a bonfire or a minor earthquake or even a larger storm, another may have had their home flattened by the fires, earthquakes, and storms of life. It’s a bit harder for that person to trust them or approach them with anything but caution. But we can all still enjoy the still small voice when we hear it.