This is an older image, but a concept I’ve been revisiting in my head: the coming of whirlwind.
I made this monotype (ink on paper) in 2005 and titled it “Not in the Whirlwind”.
‘Sowing to the wind, reaping in return a whirlwind’ is an ancient idea and one that I’m sensing now is immediately pertinent to our current moment nationally and even globally. Hosea, a prophet to Israel in the 8th century BC, coined this visual alarm. In his writing, he spoke a mixture of severe warnings mixed with surprising hope. His listeners barely could grasp the import, and so his life became a visual aid at several points. Still, he feared their deafness to his words, saying, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” He labored to inform them. The small book we have from his pen is 14 chapters long. In the 8th chapter, he announces the coming despair, saying, “they sow the wind, and they reap the whirlwind.” He could see it in their future. His words are not angry or manipulative finger pointing but rather a lamenting plea. For what it cost Hosea to log that lament, I wonder if anyone heard? History indicates “no”, at least for the nation as a whole.
When Elijah, another even earlier prophet, retreated exhausted and discouraged, he needed God’s intervention. His story gives examples of how God moved in Elijah’s life to sustain him and then to speak to him. God was not in the whirlwind, (where I got my title for the above image). Then God was not in the earthquake, nor in the fire. But God spoke as Elijah sought Him in the coming of a gentle blowing after these events. Thus exhibited the character of God’s voice: a gentle blowing. But Elijah had to listen for it—past the din of the alarms that preceded God’s words. This is the purpose of prophecy: not to frighten but to alert any one, even just one who will listen. Prophetic words are wake-up calls.
But then as now, they are easily dismissed. When the whirlwind comes the quiet voice will be much harder heard.