“The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” – 1 Kings 19:11-12 NIV
A Gentle Whisper
We’ve all seen it. The coach who is bright red with sweat dripping off his brow. Veins pop out and spittle flies as he screams at the ref, the unfortunate penalty maker or anyone else in his path. Like a hurricane he rips off his head phones and stomps his feet like a toddler being put in a timeout.
Yet newly hired Nebraska Football Coach Scott Frost declared he and his staff will be taking a different approach. Frost said in a press conference, “If someone misses a tackle or drops a ball, they don’t need to be yelled at. They need to be taught the right way to do it so it doesn’t happen again. And once you take away that fear of what might happen if you make a bad play, it really frees you up to go make great plays.” Coach Frost recently led UCF to a 13-0 season. He was a stellar college athlete in his own right. Maybe we should take notes both on the field and in our homes when he says this.
In today’s passage God tells Elijah that he is going to pass by. We see great natural disasters with immense power and might. This is how we might perceive God would display Himself. Yet God chooses instead to be revealed in a gentle whisper. Just before this, Elijah had been running for his life. He had gotten so down on himself that he literally had prayed for his life to be over. Rather than screaming at him or giving him a pep talk, God simply reminded him that he was still there and still all powerful.
I am praying to remember this in my own life. I have to admit that yes I am the parent who is fairly vocal (mind you generally in a positive manner) on the sidelines when my kids are playing. I am more likely to react with a raised voice than a gentle whisper when my boys are fighting or have done something wrong. In fact I was once reminded by a mentor that if we raise our voices with our children and lose our cool it’s like the pilot coming out of the cockpit to deal with an issue in the cabin. Who then is going to fly the plane?
I think Coach Frost is on to something. When you make a mistake or are down on yourself, a gentle word can make all the difference. Teaching rather than screaming sounds like a better approach for the long haul. Some of the greatest coaches ever, John Wooden, Tom Landry, Dean Smith, they all understood this. So tap into God’s wisdom and focus on the gentle whisper the next time you feel an earthquake coming. It won’t only help your team but will likely bring you closer to your Creator as well.
– Brian Catanella, Leadwithlovebooks.com
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