Still and small


When the elderly gentleman sat down near me at lunch, I caught him staring at me more than once. I wasn’t doing anything remarkable, so I went about my business eating soup and writing in my spiral bound notebook. I’ve had a little trouble finding myself on the page lately. The last piece of work I submitted went through my husband’s editorial eyes first, and he said it didn’t sound like me–he couldn’t hear my voice. I revised and revised, and still I felt unsure of what I wanted to say. These thoughts ran through my head as I ate, caught in the old man’s gaze. He looked as if he was mid-thought, but he couldn’t find the right words to finish the rest of the sentence. When I got up to leave, I wanted to touch him on the shoulder and say, “Tell me what it is you want to say!”

I find myself saying this to God a lot. “Tell me what you want to say, God,” as if He’s the one struggling mid-thought, when really it is me struggling to listen. Three times last week, I came across the story of Elijah as he stood on a mountain waiting for a revelation from the Lord. A great wind passed by, then an earthquake, and finally a fire, but God did not speak in any of these forms. After all of these displays of His power, He spoke to Elijah when only the quiet remained. God revealed himself in a still, small voice.

Maybe you need this reminder today, too. I know that I like to surround myself with a lot of emotional wind and fire, and somehow expect to hear God clearly through all of it. I need to learn how to be still in His presence. My heart needs to learn how to quiet down, how to stand at the mouth of the cave and listen for His voice, so that I might find my own.

After lunch, I stood up from my table, put on my coat, and left. The old man followed me with his eyes. He never spoke a word.


I had the pleasure of writing a daily reflection for The High Calling on this week’s theme, “The local church equipping us in our vocations”. Click here to read more. To receive daily reflections in your inbox (they’re excellent–I’ve read them for years), sign up here.


  • Sharon O

    Sometimes we have to slow down, pause, and listen to God’s whisper. Remember, I believe he asked Elijah “why are you here?” It is a question of our hearts. For our hearts. Why am I writing. What voice do I want to share. And who am I sharing it for. Maybe the old man who was trying to share with you used to be a writer and understood your ‘pause’. Just a thought.

    • KimberlyCoyle

      And a lovely thought at that:)

  • Mark Allman

    A whisper in my mind often garners more attention than a shout. Listen for those whispers.

    • KimberlyCoyle

      Yes, I really must listen for those.

  • Marian

    Lovely. I can relate, especially to the “I have a lot of emotional wind and fire” part. Also, lately when I’ve been trying to be still and quiet and listen? I’ve ended up falling asleep. So there’s that.

    • KimberlyCoyle

      Ha! Maybe the Lord wants to speak to you in your dreams?!