Think of the times you’ve had to leave home for an extended period of time, going off to school or perhaps even getting married.
Some of the most comforting and reassuring words we can hear from our parents are these, “If you ever need anything, doesn’t matter day or night, just call, we’ll be here.”
Even though there may be apprehension and probably some anxiety about the unknown, somehow hearing those reassuring words help to make us feel calmer and less worried. We know we can trust our parents’ words and that they will indeed be there for us. Their words, spoken in love, give us a sense of security and add a boost to our confidence.
Well, here is another promise, this one from our Heavenly Father.
“Call to me and I will answer you..” Jeremiah 33:3
Precise and straight forward, this promise literally beckon us to our knees. A call to action followed by the promise of a guaranteed response. It gives an assurance not based on human abilities but wholly in the confidence of a loving and caring God. So confident are we in this promise that we eagerly and expectantly lay our petitions before Him in prayer. After all, this is God!
But what happens when our prayers, at times submitted in pain, tears and anguish, for needs so great, are met with nothing but SILENCE?!
Have you ever been there?
Our earnest prayers, though genuine and faith-filled, seems to fall on deaf ears. In need of clear direction, we await the answers but instead, there is only silence. God’s seeming absence in our time of need can be overwhelming. Many of us would agree we can be left feeling confused and discouraged, even abandoned.
In deed, this is one of the most lonely seasons any believer can experience. Not only are we in obvious need of God’s intervention, but the very One who promises to “never leave you nor forsake you” seems nowhere to be found.
As if to add insult to injury, the enemy uses this as the opportune time to whisper his lies into our vulnerable hearts. “Maybe God’s promises are not for you.” “He doesn’t care about you, your problems are not important enough.” “If he loved you he would have answered you by now.”
In our despair I can see how we might echo Job’s words,
” I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me.” Job 30:20
Personally, my response to God’s silence is not always honorable. I am ashamed to say that on one or more occasions I have actually thrown a few temper tantrums. I find myself behaving like a spoilt child when the answer to my prayers seems non-existent.
But listen dear friends….
Our dependency and need of God is not only for our personal gain, yet that is how we sometimes behave. Sure, He has promised to meet our needs but there is so much more to our relationship with Him, much of which we still have yet to discover.
Could it be that to have an understanding of God in these times is to look outside of our own perception of the situation. That perhaps His silence is not evidence of His abandonment or lack of care but instead is a gift – a gift of time.
We pursue Him but He also pursue us!
If we were to try to view these periods of silence from God’s perspective and consider His words to us in Isaiah 55: 8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my way” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher that the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
We would see that God’s plans and purposes for us far exceeds our finite understanding. I believe if God were to grant us a peek into His thought process, perhaps we would be able to see that time spent praying for an illness or a troubled marriage are really opportunities to seek the giver more than the gift. That His love for us is so great that He allows unfavorable events in our lives for this purpose. In His pursuit for an intimate relationship with us He gives us the gift of time – a time of silence to pursue Him back.
I want to believe that God’s methods used in pursuit of us are wrapped up in the complexity of who He is. After all, He is the sovereign God and the what, where, when and how is completely up to Him. Accepting this truth might lead us to understand that His use of silence, from which none are exempt, serves an enormous purpose.
I am finding some of my most intimate experiences with God came from times of great difficulties. When He remains silent, in periods of unanswered prayers, and I choose still to press in more, chasing after Him. Knowing that His silence forces me to pursue Him in a way I otherwise would not.
Those times when I fail to press in, when in His sovereignty, He chose to withhold the answer, I miss out on the opportunity to receive something even greater. I miss out on opportunities that build godly character, shaping and transforming me to better serve Him. Opportunities that would help me to remain steadfast in my faith, trusting in God even though I might not see His hidden purpose.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out.” Romans 11:33
Friends, are we able to fathom the thought that maybe in the silence God speaks the loudest. That maybe it really isn’t silence after all, but an intimate stillness that brings us into the heart of God and give us a deeper revelation of who He is.
Are we able to fathom a love so great that it is beautifully expressed even in God’s silence? In the silence of unanswered prayers will we still chose to believe. Will we still trust His promises. I don’t always get it but I sure want to!
Come on dear friends, let us journey together by faith today. God bless you!