And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
1 Kings 19:11-14 (ESV)

Everyone has expectations, so therefore everyone has disappointments. We study all night and get demoralizing results the week after. We hunker down to work hard and wait years for a promotion that never comes. We have to live with strained relationships where we or others fail to change. We do our best for the glory of God but sometimes the results are not as glorious as we’d like them to be.

Elijah was on the run from Queen Jezebel after a great showdown of what seemed like a half-hearted victory. Yet he treated his fears and insecurities as an ongoing conversation with God. When Elijah ran, he ran to the Lord. When he complained, he complained to the face of God. Our disappointments may be expected in the brokenness of this life, but we should not be discouraged to seek the Lord.

This complete dependence and surrender to the Lord is grounded in the truth that God ministers to us in our time of need and renews our sense of purpose when we’ve lost our way. It seems strange that there would be wind, a fire, an earthquake before God passed by in a whisper. But God wanted to see if Elijah was patiently waiting. He was also trying Elijah’s expectations. While God manifested His power in awesome and magnificent ways before (and this is how Elijah might have known Him), here He needed only to be heard by the one person who was straining to listen.

God proceeds to listen to Elijah’s complaint. He gives Elijah new orders and lets Elijah in on His future plans for Israel. The conversation seems brief, but it tells us that in our discouragement, God isn’t done. While Elijah didn’t get what he expected, God was working behind the scenes to bring His plan into fruition. It was all in His timing.

So when it seems like life has cast you aside, don’t give up on God.
Sit and wait and be still. He will meet you in the silence.