"And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." (1 Kings 19:12)
Elijah was in hiding for his life, even though God had spectacularly answered his prayer with fire from heaven. Jezebel, however, had not been intimidated by Elijah's victory and swore she would kill him. He fell into such depression that he wanted to die. If Jezebel could not be impressed with fire from heaven, how could Elijah ever hope to defeat her and her armies? Not even an angel could remove his doubts.
But then was sent "a great and strong wind," and "after the wind an earthquake" (1 Kings 19:11). But the Lord was not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire. God finally reached Elijah with "a still small voice," and that voice assured him that God was well in control of all circumstances. Similarly, Moses told the children of Israel, as they faced the Red Sea: "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD" (Exodus 14:13).
It was prophesied of the Lord Jesus that "he shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street." Nevertheless, it was also promised, "he shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth" (Isaiah 42:2, 4; see also Matthew 12:19-20).
In our human impatience, we think God should always move immediately in great strength. Unless there are large numbers of converts and displays of power, we grow discouraged, like Elijah. But God more often speaks in a still, small voice and works in a quiet way. "And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, . . . And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isaiah 30:18, 21). HMM