Elijah had been having a rough time.
He appears on the scene telling Israel that there is going to be a serious drought in the land, not a message that will endear you to the populous. He camps out by a river and the full range of dietary needs is limited to what ravens can carry. Not exactly the most sanitary of waitstaff. He lives with a widow for a while where they have an abundant supply of oil and flour, the same meal every day.
He gets to confront the King and they have a mountain top throw down that ends with fire falling from Heaven and a massacre of 450 prophets.
He outruns a chariot (and a heavy wind and rain storm) over a distance of approximately 25 miles - no easy feat, especially on his diet with limited nutrition and then receives news that the Queen has issued a death warrant for him so he goes camp out back in the wilderness again. He feels depressed and wishes to die.
An angel shows up and gives him some cake (see Angel food cake is biblical!) and some water and then the angel commands him to walk 40 days across the wilderness and climb a mountain all on the strength of that meal!
Finally, sitting in a cave on Mount Horeb he is told to 'Stand on the Mountain for the Lord is about to pass by.'
First comes a mighty wind so strong that it splits mountains and breaks rocks. Elijah had outrun a rain and windstorm sent by God, but this time time is not present in the storm.
Next comes a mighty earthquake. Elijah is standing on the mountain where Moses received the 10 commandments. When that event happened there was thunder, lightening, earthquake and fire. But this time God is not present in the earthquake.
Next comes a burst of fire. Elijah had seen fire fall from heaven as a sign of God's power, but this time God is not present in the fire.
Elijah has been waiting, and all the ways that God normally 'shows up' have happened, but God was not in any of them.
Finally silence descends, and in a way that Elijah does not expect, God speaks into the waiting place.
To wait without expectation of how God will answer can be the hardest waiting of all.