Ours is not a God who coerces, who cajoles or shames. What freedom would there be in that kind of God? What kind of choice would we have but to respond in fear and trembling to a God that forces love down our throats and demands it in return? No, the God of Christian belief is not to be found in the roar of a mighty wind, or in an earthquake, or in the violent flames that consume. Our God is the still, small voice. The One that can be heard once our hearts are hushed, in the stillness of an untroubled mind.
Our God is gentle and meek, constantly giving God’s own self in the dynamism of an ever re-created world, and an ever renewed Spirit within us. This God is truly a God that terrifies us. No wonder our modern age rejects this God. The gentleness of God flies in the face of the endless swirl of our own created violence - that which we commit against ourselves and others and the world that we inhabit. The whisperings of God, the endless mercy, the unquenchable and meek love of God cannot but fail to expose the crass immaturity of the world we have shaped with our freedom.
We are so consumed with our own noise, the endless chattering and distraction of our modern age, that no wonder we can’t hear the voice of God. It is easier for us to hope for the day that God will return in “power and great might” than to be still and know that God is already with us. For if that is the case, then our shame would be too much to bear. It is not God that shames us, but we ourselves. For what else can we do once confronted by the God whose love is so perfect, whose nature is so gentle, and whose light is so bright as to illuminate just how petty our judgments of ourselves and others really are? Or to reveal just who wrongly we have understood our relationship to the world and how pitifully we have failed to care for this great gift we have been given.
But, in the stillness, in the silence - once we have put down distractions and reactions and our ill-formed images of a God who is terrible and filled with wrath; if we listen to the still small voice that calls us “beloved;” when we become open to the gentlest yet most unwavering and relentless of loves directed fully at our own selves; then we will truly understand what it means to be saved. What it means to be redeemed.
This is where justice and mercy, forgiveness and love become so abundant that we are no longer afraid to give what we have received. This is the work of the believer, the work of faith. To put away the foolishness that waits for our God to come in a blaze of trumpets to judge the world, and to listen in the stillness, in the hush, in the quieted and gentled heart for a love so powerful that all which troubles us may be put away. All of our errors already forgiven. All of our judgments rendered unnecessary. And where our dignity as a children of God may be embraced. If you would know God…then for God’s sake…be still!