In our Hebrew Testament readings this past week we are immersed in the story of Elijah. On Sunday Elijah was in hiding in the caves on Mount Horeb. God came to him and asked him what he was doing. If you haven't read this passage recently (and as it fell on a Sunday in our Daily Office lectionary it is easy to miss) go and read it - 1 Kings 19:8-21, for it puts in context today's Hebrew Testament reading. In Sunday's reading God came, but not in the mighty wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the utter stillness and silence that enveloped and protected Elijah and gave him comfort and strength to go out and face what he must face: the fight against Ahab and Jezebel, the part of the story we start to read today.
We are gifted today with a reading from Matthew as well, where Jesus hears of John's arrest and Jesus "withdraws". But he doesn't withdraw for long. Although Matthew attributes Jesus' actions to fulfillment of Scripture, I can't help but wonder if Jesus needed some time to re-boot, to understand what had just happened to his cousin. He didn't stay hidden for long for he is soon out declaring to all who will listen that "the kingdom of heaven has come near."
There is no hiding in this world. Hiding doesn't get us anywhere. In particular, there is no hiding from God. When we are called to do something, when we are drawn by God to some action(s), God will always find us and lead us where we are intended to go. As both Elijah's path and Jesus' life indicate, that direction may not always be easy, but we are never alone, never unloved, never without God's presence.
Hearing that call is hard work. There is no clear and perfect proof that what we are hearing is actually God's call. Through prayer, through faith, through being open to God we need to trust and always be ready to not hide, but to respond to that call.
Copyright 2009, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.