Midcoast Friends Meeting, Damariscotta, ME
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"I really have difficulty discerning that Inner Voice you spoke about today. It's not clear." "No, it's clear," replied the Sage. "When you're clear, it's clear. When you're not clear, it's not clear."
*Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."
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"Go out and stand before me on the mountain," the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
*I Kings 19.11-13 (NLT)
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In 2009, when a jail chaplain, one night, I could not sleep. I had no urge to sleep. I went to sleep at about 3 AM. I was taught to use sleepless nighttime for prayer, and that Spirit may want us awake to spend that time in prayer for some reason unknown.
The following night, I fell into a deep sleep at about 8:40 PM - I usually was only ready for sleep hours later, often after midnight. I slept heavily until about 2:30 AM. Upon waking up, I spent hours in prayer and prayerful meditation.
Later, listening to music - Michael W. Smith's "Grace," - while getting ready to leave for work, something happened that rarely does: I began weeping, but with spiritual joy. So wonderful was the sense of how much Presence had loved and did love me. So great the Grace!
Then, off to work I went. On the way to the jail, I stopped at the Sherriff's Office for a prayer gathering outside. I arrived early. As I was getting out of my truck to walk around and read some Scripture alone, I discerned that Inner Voice saying I needed to stop and pray before getting out. I accepted there must be a reason, though I did not know what. I bowed the head and prayed, and there was a strong sense of Spirit.
Then, I got out. And walking about, there was a vivid peacefulness present. This tranquility followed me through the prayer gathering, at work, and back home.
After arriving home, getting out of my truck, and walking toward the door, I sensed a sensation of Peaceful Presence following, even resting on me. I recognized that familiar, comforting Love. I had no idea why it was happening, though.
I noticed a message was left on my phone. Briefly afterward, I checked it and called back. I was informed of the end of a long, hurtful ordeal. I had not anticipated the news would be met with such unspeakable peace and thankfulness to Presence. I had anticipated the opposite feeling - When Spirit controls our response to something, we might be surprised at the paradoxical nature of the response given to us.
What occurred to me was how the Spirit of Love had readied me before knowing what was happening. The nudges to prayer, sense of peace, and awareness of Presence - even sleeplessness - were ways Spirit was companioning and preparing me to meet the news with gratitude and peace, not anger, uncertainty, and unease.
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What was the "gentle whisper" Elijah discovered the Divine Voice in? The translation of "gentle whisper" is rendered in varied ways, and the Hebrew of the text is difficult to render into English - "a gentle and quiet whisper" (MSB); "a soft whisper" (HCSB); "a quiet, gentle sound" (NCV); "a gentle breeze" (CEV); "a still, small voice" (KJV). The general idea is that this was not a high-volume Voice; the Divine spoke subtly.
Spirit is not lingual or bilingual or trilingual ... Presence is not located some where, like in heaven, on earth, in nature, beyond nature. So, does Presence speak? If so, from where? From no-where into some-where.
Sacredness will use any language needed to communicate with us. One language of God I call nudges. That is a rustic way of speaking of that sensation of Something telling you something, but you cannot define the Something or the what. You know it.
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We are wise to listen and heed the inner Voice of Love in the different ways we receive it. The unspeakable nudge we could call an inner inspiration. It arises, and usually, we are surprised by it.
Such loving attention Life gives to us! We are not alone. We are companioned. We are spoken to. The how and why may not be clear, at least at first. We can call it Wisdom, if we wish.
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*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2023.
*Use of photography is allowed accompanied by credit given to Brian K. Wilcox and title and place of photograph.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse.