“Then the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ … Then He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.’ At that moment, the Lord passed by…but the Lord was not in the wind…the Lord was not in the earthquake…the Lord was not in the fire… And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ ‘ … Then the Lord said to him, ‘Go and return by the way you came to the Wilderness of Damascus.'” (1 Kings 19:9-15, HCSB).
I have unpacked the verses in this passage to illustrate a lesson that God was trying to teach the prophet Elijah. But first a little background information is needed.