God’s ‘Afters’ (1/3)

My mother often said to my twin brother and I at mealtimes, ‘If you don’t eat your firsts, you will not have any AFTERS.’ I can recall, with delight, that my mother’s AFTERS were worth waiting for. Large pudding bowls, lined and topped with thick suet pudding and filled with all kinds of fruits were treats worth waiting for! I can taste them now!

Much more importantly, however, I commend to you GOD’S AFTERS’. They were, and still are, worth waiting for! The Old Testament prophet, Elijah, would agree. The ‘here and now’ in our lives can be dark and fearful. Elijah experienced this as he sought to escape from the wicked queen, Jezebel, who was seeking his life. He crept into a gloomy cave for the night on Mt Horeb. Suddenly the silence was shattered by a strong wind that broke in pieces the rocks. Two AFTERS followed: ‘AFTER the wind an earthquake . . . AFTER the earthquake a fire’. He would, no doubt, have felt relatively comfortable with these, because he had seen God use them in the past to awaken people to their sin. However, he was not ready for what followed: ‘and AFTER the fire A STILL SMALL VOICE’. He had to learn that the wind, earthquake and fire could only awaken men and women to their wickedness but they could not save them. It was the AFTER of God’s still small voice of grace that could make a difference and save them from their sin.

At this particular time of the year, we should be especially grateful that GOD’S STILL SMALL VOICE OF GRACE has been heard in this world in the Person of Jesus Christ. The Bible says of Him, ‘He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets’, Matthew chapter 12 verse 19. ‘How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given’.