Through A Gentle Whisper
I always tear up when I hear the song “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert. Embarrassing, I know, but the lyrics really do resonate with me. When the song plays, I picture my home back in Western Kentucky that sits on a farm surrounded by corn fields, big blue skies, and an array of trees and plants. Someone who visited once said, “I can see why you never want to leave.” I told a friend recently that lately I’ve been feeling nostalgic. When the world makes me weary, (or maybe I just really need my mom to do some cooking and laundry for me) I want to run to the comfort of what has always been there. My first instinct is to want to go home. To a place where I’m known, where I’m seen, to a place that is familiar.
And so, when Miranda sings –
“ thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here it's like I'm someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory,
From the house that built me.”
I start to tear up. We all feel the brokenness inside of us. We feel the longing for home, for something better, we want to find ourselves in a world where we often feel like we are wandering. If we could just grasp a place that we know anchors us, like home, then maybe we would feel whole again.
I had a pastor remind me recently of the story of Elijah. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah asks the Lord to take his life. He’s been on the run from Jezebel, weary, and ready to stop wandering. Elijah felt this brokenness so intensely he was ready for the Lord to end it all. 1 Kings 19:4 says, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” The Lord then ministers to Elijah and reveals his glory to him. A wind comes by, but the Lord was not in the wind. An earthquake comes by him, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. A fire comes by, but the Lord was not in the fire. But then, a gentle whisper. “Then the voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ (V. 13) The Lord chose to reveal himself to Elijah in a gentle whisper. Elijah asks for death when in reality he was longing to see his God.
The same pastor who told me the story of Elijah, thought that I too was longing for something deeper than just wanting to go back to my childhood home. He knew I was longing for the brokenness inside of me: my sin, my pain, and the weights of the world, to be taken away. And that day will only be when we are in the presence of our true home – with our God. A God who looks at our brokenness and chooses to step into it rather than run from it. A God who ministers to us in our wandering, in our loneliness, and in our longings, through a gentle whisper. Not a harsh tone, not an indifferent glance, but a whisper of love for his children.
When I hear that song now, it reminds me that the human condition longs and searches after something permanent. Each one of us. But, for those who are in Christ we can take heart that one day we will “touch that place and feel it,” the place we belong. Our home. Just like Elijah, the Lord gives us better than what we even dream for. You see, Elijah asked for death, but the Lord ended up taking Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. He didn’t even have to face death. The Lord wants those who have been reconciled to him to know that he has created an answer to our searching. It’s in Him, and we can always return home in His kingdom.