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Monday, September 16, 2013

When God is silent

Yesterday, we talked about how when we think God is silent it's usually because he's silent on the issue that we want addressed. The example was the disciples who asked Jesus if he was going to restore Israel and how Jesus never answered their question except to tell them it really wasn't their business. Yet, we did see that Jesus did say something, even gave them some very specific directions, the biggest being to wait.

Waiting is one of the hardest things we do.

The Bible gives us lots of examples of people who had to wait. Abraham waited for a son not very patiently. In fact, he got a little ahead of God and tried to make it happen on his own, which caused all kinds of problems. I have enough problems without causing any more, so I'm asking God to give me the strength to wait.

Today I wrote a letter that I believe was God-inspired. I was ready to hit send when it struck me that I should run it by my project partner. When I ran it by her and we prayed we both felt that the letter was good and should be sent...but not yet. I need to wait.

Whew! I almost jumped ahead of God once again.

Joseph was given a dream that he KNEW was from God. Yet he had to wait many many many many long years before the realization of that dream.

David was anointed king over Israel when he was quite young yet he had to ... you guessed it ... wait many many many many long years before that dream came to realization.

This morning I read something about that wait in Psalm 35 and guess what? He felt God was silent.

Verse 13 (NIV) says, "...When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother."

And then he goes on to tell of how his enemies were delighted to see him so cast down.

In verse 22 he says, "LORD, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord."

So, it looks like we're in good company when we think God is silent and we find ourselves waiting for an answer or for some sign of the promise given so long ago.

Lettie Cowman, the author of "Streams in the Desert" went through a terrible time of God's silence and waiting following the death of her husband. In her words...

"Can there be a sorrow that others have borne,
Now breaking my heart--making night of my morn?
Alone in this sorrow, alone in this grief--
'Tis that breaks the spirit and blocks all relief.
Alone, midst the many; alone, when alone
With a loneness so deep that forbids e'en a moan."

With a heart so crushed by grief, Lettie doesn't even feel like doing what God has called her to do, so she doesn't. Instead, she waits. She has no sense of the Lord's presence. "With all her host of friends she feels utterly alone upon the earth. And such aloneness! Alone in the house, alone in the quiet time, alone in the Word, alone in the book shops, alone among friends, alone with the throng!"

There is Abraham sitting alone, an old man waiting for a child to begin a nation...

There is Joseph sitting in prison for a crime he did not commit, waiting for God...

There is David running for his life, waiting for God to come to his rescue...

There is Lettie struggling to find words and purpose, waiting for God...

There is me broken in body and clinging to a thin thread of hope regarding a promise given long ago, waiting for God...

There is you.........


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