As Elijah sat in a cave on Mount Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai), he learned an important lesson about hearing God. Through the mouth of the cave, he witnessed three powerful and destructive natural forces: a “great and strong wind,” an earthquake, and a fire. Elijah’s observation was that the Lord was not in any of these. After all three had passed, Elijah heard “a still small voice.” This time, he recognized that the Lord was talking to him. (See 1 Kings 19:9-13.)
Twice in the Book of Mormon, we read about people experiencing God’s voice as a still small voice:
- As Nephi and Lehi stood in a prison, their Lamanite captors saw them “encircled about with a pillar of fire.” Then, the prison walls began to shake. Finally, the Lamanites were “overshadowed with a cloud of darkness.” In these frightening circumstances, they heard a voice, “and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul” (Helaman 5:23-30).
- After the destruction which coincided with the death of Jesus Christ (including fires, earthquakes, and terrible storms), a group of people gathered at the temple heard a voice. “It was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn” (3 Nephi 11:3). This was the voice of God announcing the arrival of His Only Begotten Son.
How can a voice be both quiet and piercing? Because it speaks to our heart in a way that we can’t help but notice. We recognize it to be fundamentally different from the combative and anxious voices around us, but that doesn’t make it less powerful, just powerful in a different way. If we listen, God’s voice will calm our souls and elevate our thoughts and feelings.
President Russell M. Nelson taught:
The adversary is clever. For millennia he has been making good look evil and evil look good. His messages tend to be loud, bold, and boastful.
However, messages from our Heavenly Father are strikingly different. He communicates simply, quietly, and with such stunning plainness that we cannot misunderstand Him.“Hear Him,” General Conference, April 2020
Today, I will listen for the voice of God. I will recognize that, although His voice is small, it is piercing: it speaks to us with great plainness and with quiet power. I will listen and strive to hear and follow Him.