Thursday, April 7, 2011
Within an instant, suddenly, without notice, life can take a dramatic turn for the worse. Just when you’re certain you’re standing on solid ground, you feel yourself begin to sink, and in utter helplessness, all you can do is cry out to God. After all, you’ve experienced despair before, called out to Him, and He showed up. But, this time, with each passing, sinking moment, He doesn’t answer. As your situation becomes more and more dire, the distress of a seemingly silent God trumps the burden that’s pulling you under. God’s silence in desperate times is difficult at best; it can be frustrating and excruciating. There was a time when God was directing you, leading you, and blessing you, but now it appears He has simply walked away. In such trying times, when you’re unable sense God’s presence and hear His voice, you will feel abandoned, confused, and terribly alone . . . but you are not. In those times where your voice seems to be rebounding off heaven’s floor, when you’re hoping God will hear you, but you feel “unheard,” remember these things:
1)God’s Silence is not His Absence—All of our Christian life, we’re prepared to hear God speak to us, but nothing prepares us for His silence. When our emotions are flooding our soul and we “feel” the absence of His presence, we can convince our frightened hearts with the truth of Psalm 139: 7,9-12 (NIV):
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? . . . If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you.” God’s silence becomes an opportunity for us to enter into the silence with Him. It is our invitation to shift our relationship from one that demands words to an intimate relationship where no words are necessary.
2) 2)God’s Silence Tests Our Faith—It doesn’t take much faith to trust in a Savior who is walking beside you and constantly performing miracles. But, what happens when He’s crucified on a cross? We’re no different than the Disciples in times of despair, when God is nowhere to be found . . . they ran, they hid, they forgot all that Jesus had told them. God calls us to trust Him each and every day, in each and every moment, whether we’re high upon a mountaintop or in the deepest valley. His silence puts our faith to the test. Edith Hamilton once said, “Faith is not faith until it’s all you’re holding onto.” God’s silence is proving our faith. It’s like a parent teaching their child to ride a bike. In the beginning, they walk or run beside them; holding on to them, talking them through the process, and preventing them from falling. They’re working to build their confidence. But, at some point, the parent lets go. It’s not that the parent doesn’t care or isn’t there, it’s that they know they’ve shown their child how it’s done and in their wisdom, they know it’s time for the child to practice what they’ve been taught. So, God’s silence, at times, is preparing us for the road ahead. He’s building our commitment and perseverance. And through the test, those things that we’re trusting more than Him will be revealed. He knows that if we’re going on a journey with Him, we’re in for the ride of our life, and we will need to have the faith that “doesn’t believe without proof, but trusts without reservation.” (D. Elton Trueblood)
le 3) God's Silence Doesn’t Mean Nothing’s Happening—Know this: Breakthrough can come as a result of God’s silence. How? Have you ever tried to watch a seed grow? The truth is you can’t. Everything that happens to a seed is underground . . . in the dark soil. Sometimes, there are things in our lives that need to be brought to the surface. What you’ll find is that it’s in God’s silence that His Spirit is working within you to reveal those things that must be dealt with to move you forward in your faith walk. He’s growing deep roots that will not only nourish you, but make you strong to withstand the rest of the growth process. Most of the work that’s done revolves around surrender. We want to grow up to be a tulip . . . He’s growing a rose. To be grown by God, things must be surrendered . . . mainly our fleshly desires. We must come to a place in our faith where we let go of our will and fully embrace His. God’s silence must do its work and His silence will continue for as long as it takes to accomplish His purposes. But, just as we trust that the dawn always brings light that breaks the night, so too, we can trust that our darkness will come to an end.
God’s silence will accomplish more in you than you ever imagined if you will continue to seek Him. Through His silence you will develop a deeper intimacy with Him, you’ll find that He’s worth trusting, and you’ll discover strength in Him that defies all understanding. In those moments when God’s silence is deafening, remind yourself of the truth that the Disciples forgot when they felt He had abandoned them, (Jesus said:) “Be sure of this: I am with you ALWAYS, until the end of time.”
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