During my teenage years I lived in a very small German village. The town’s population was less than 4,000, and it was located just north of the city of Stuttgart. The village was situated in a region known for its vineyards. Many of the steep hillsides were covered with wine grapes.
Our family had only one car, which meant that I had to either walk or bike to school. The way to school led first down a steep hillside, and then across a flat valley and over a bridge. On the other side of the valley the path again climbed steeply uphill. My school was at the top of that hill. My journey between home and school was long and— literally—uphill both ways.
I usually chose to walk instead of using my bike, as the latter made me really sweaty. I got used to walking about 45 minutes to school one way. It was a nice way to begin and end the school day, as I was able to enjoy nature and to think. Throughout the years my route became familiar enough that little surprised me. But there was one interesting phenomenon that occurred a few times a year. When the temperature significantly changed, fog would swell and creep up from the river, spill into the valley, and rise up the sides of the steep hillside. It was so dense that it was difficult to see 10 feet ahead of you. My daily path that I was usually so comfortable with, became tricky, treacherous, and eerie.
Those foggy journeys were very challenging; yet, when I reflect on them years later, I find similarities to the lives of many of us today. So often we go about our daily routine on autopilot. We start the day with prayer and breakfast, and then head to school or work. We’re content. We’re OK. We’re able to enjoy life. But then there are those foggy days. We can’t see where we’re going, and the familiar path that we know so well becomes unrecognizable. We become scared and concerned, and the path becomes uncertain. In moments like these we long to experience the presence of God in a deep and meaningful way; instead, we some- times feel alone and isolated.
We’re not alone in this. Eljiah also felt like that. After the miracle at Mount Carmel, Queen Jezebel threatened him, and he ran for his life. He was demoralized and felt alone.
Elijah goes into a cave and experiences utter isolation. He’s told that he will stand before God. A mighty earthquake takes place, and a powerful and fierce fire sweeps by, but God isn’t in those powerful natural catastrophes. “And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19:12-14, ESV).*
God is with us in those still, quiet, lonely, and isolated moments. He’s right next to us. The eerie fog moments dissipate when we realize that our Lord is standing beside us. Listen for that still whisper. God will be there for you, as He promised.
* Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Cross- way Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Enno Müller is director of communication and news editor for Adventist Review Ministries.