Elijah’s learning

Ever notice how we have to learn things  anew that preceding generations learned before us?

While in Israel recently we drove past and upon Mt Carmel – actually a range of peaks not a single mountain. Visiting the place where tradition has it Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal, I also recalled it was a mountain to which Elijah went when he was having a really rough patch personally and professionally. (e.g. the king wanting to kill him)  He went and hid in a cave. And he asked – demanded – to talk with God about all of this.

God told Elijah “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks 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. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper…”


It is significant to see that God was not to be found in the great wind, in the earthquake or the fire. God WAS NOT in the natural disasters. Once again as we face the clean-up in Southern Indiana we have to answer for ourselves where is God in all of this.


I see God in the response of people.  From the selflessness of first responders, and the contractor from French Lick who brought his crew to Henryville to the depth  love of the mother protecting her children in the wake f the tornadoes. I see God present in the out pouring of tools, clothing, food water, school supplies, and services being made available.  God’s continuing promise of new life coming from the rubble and ash of the destruction will be made real in the hundreds of volunteers and work crews preparing to assist families; in the countless fund raisers in our area, across the state and across the nation to bring resources to help rebuild these communities.

God is present in the disaster not as the cause but as the presence in the stillness and silence that follow. Using people to help and to heal and to bring new life from the ugliness and evil of the destruction is God’s primary MO.


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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