In a touching and insightful episode from the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah finds himself within a cave, hidden away from a people who want nothing more than his death. As a prophet, he has tried to speak the truth, and that is enough to land him in a whole lot of trouble.
At one moment, Elijah hears the voice of the Lord coming to him. The Lord, Elijah is told, is about to pass by, and Elijah is expected to come out and meet Him. In almost catechetical fashion, the text reads:
Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces 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 a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-12)
The beauty of this text in light of Easter morning is almost poetic. This is because it is on Sunday, and the time leading up to it, that we see a reversal of roles. If God was the one waiting outside of the cave while the disciple of the Lord (i.e. Elijah) stay within for fear of death, we now see Jesus, the God-man, waiting inside the cave, already in death. And if the earthquake, though impressive, did not help Elijah to find his God, the earthquake on Easter morning did much the same for Jesus’ disciples. ‘He is not here,’ we can still hear the voice of the angel reporting to those who have come to look for Jesus. (Matthew 28:6)
God cannot be found in the noise and brutality of the world, in the earthquakes and tornadoes. Our God favours the silence. Whether it is the cave turned stable at Jesus’ birth, or Elijah’s encounter with the Lord on a mountain, or the resurrected Jesus on that glorious Sunday that forever changed our afterlives, or even in the most holy Eucharist, ours is a hidden God. And because He is hidden, it is incumbent upon every soul to find Him. But to do that, we have to do what Elijah did: we have to listen for the silence.
Jesus has a message for you today. Find that moment where all you can hear is Him.