“Needing a storm warning”
These are just a few of the affection comments I’ve gotten about my personality. Unfortunately, my approach has not always reflected the character of God as displayed to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-12. “‘Go out and stand before me on the mountain,’ the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” The Lord, the great mighty God of the universe, can show himself in giant mighty ways, but as with Elijah in this story and often in our owm lives, God doesn’t always act loudly. Instead, He gently whispers.
Gentle at heart
We want to act in big ways and we want God to as well. And while there are times God does like in the flood of Noah, the sending of fire on the sacrifice of Elijah, or the resurrection of Jesus, often he works gently and calls us to do the same.
God who is perfect has every right to be abrasive with us whom are not perfect. At times it feels like He is too harsh on us. His righteous conviction rubs against our tender egos making us feel battered and bruised. But really, He is much gentler with us than we deserve. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Then Jesus said, ‘come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” Yes, being a Christian is carrying a burden. But so is being agnostic or atheist. The burden we cary as Christians is much lighter than we otherwise would carry. This is due to the gentleness of God’s heart toward us. We don’t have to carry our burdens alone, and God works slowly and gently on our hearts to make us more like Him.
Because this gentleness of God is in us thanks to the Holy Spirit, we are to act gently towards others. In Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul urges us with this statement, “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together in peace.” Likewise, Peter, in 1 Peter 3:15-16 says, “…And if someone asks you about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.”
Because we have been treated with gentleness from God Himself, we in turn should be gentle with others. We should stand up for truth with gentleness. We should put off proud arrogance and clothe ourselves with gentle humility. We should gently whisper correction instead of aggressively screaming condemnation.
Admittedly, I still have a ways to go from trading in my bulldozer for a whisper. But I am so grateful God is still gentle with me as I learn to be less abrasive. He in His loving mercy and patience with me prompts me to copy His actions towards me. As God calms the storm in me, I’m less likely to have storm damage around me. I praise Him as He never stops gently whispering to passionate, aggressive women like me.