The word “cave” can evoke several quite different images. A physical cave can be a place of emergency refuge from weather or enemies. It can be a home that offers continuous protection from the elements and predators. Or it can be a place of danger, perceived or real. It can also be claustrophobic which contributes towards perceived danger. Most people always think of a cave as dark …. and quiet.
A mental “cave” is much the same. We can block out our surroundings and ignore the din and clamor around us to provide refuge. We can block out troubling incidents to help us become calm or we can escape from a calm world into one of demons of our own making. Can we discern that small voice or “nudge” that may be God speaking to us in any of these caves?
God’s presence and message to Elijah was not expressed through the howling wind, the fiery inferno, or the following earthquake but in the absolute silence which followed. My “receptive” state is somewhere in between those extremes.
Most of my nudges seem to come while listening to others or observing the world around me. After the 2014 earthquake I was on our back deck removing broken glass from the kitchen drawers. Suddenly I realized the bees were at their normal tasks, the birds were singing in the trees, and all of nature that I could see was unchanged. It was only the structures of humans that were damaged and that left me deeply humbled.
I do use very quiet time to ponder nudges and explore their ramifications to my behavior. The quiet allows extensive contemplation and refinement of my thoughts but seldom results in an absolutely fresh idea springing forth. I think we all have our own individual place and time when we are most receptive to “that still small voice” that helps make us better. We need to concentrate on not ignoring it.
Prayer: Lord, grant us the openness to receive your messages to us, no matter how it is delivered. Speak to us in the tumult of the day or in the silence of our meditation. Give us the strength to follow your advice. Amen