Those are pretty ironic words coming from a woman who uses up her quota of words a day and then starts stealing everyone else’s leftover words. And blogs. And tweets. And Facebook posts. Contrary to many a popular belief out there, I can be quiet. (And know it’s not when I sleep because I’ve been known to talk in my sleep.) But I really can be. Stop laughing at me.
The reason that I’m writing this post is it’s something that has been on my heart a long time. I go through seasons of the deafening silence, each one better than the last, but still hard. Why?
Because the deafening silence I’m referring to is God’s.
Lord, Where Have You Gone?
I was driving somewhere the other day and started thinking about love. How at the beginning you’re giddy and out of control happy and all you want to do is spend time with that person. Then gradually you decide that person is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. You get married, you go on the honeymoon which is fabulous and fantastic. Finally, you get home and then slowly the routine starts to seep into your life. Suddenly, before you know what hit you, the mundane of day to day life with that person you were so giddy for years ago has taken over.
Yeah… you see where I’m headed with this. Obviously, we can relate this to our relationship with the Lord. Remember when you first came to Him? When you first knew Jesus was really real? When there was an awareness in you that Jesus was alive and in you, transforming you into His image?
Remember when the honeymoon slowly started to dissipate? How what was fresh and new with Him gradually became mundane? Daily provision, walking with Him wasn’t miraculous anymore, it just… was. Suddenly, you didn’t know where He had gone, but He had gone somewhere and left no forwarding address.
A Dry and Weary Land
Most of us would rationalize that God’s not gone anywhere. In His word, He says He will never leave us nor forsake us. However, our hearts and spirits in the midst of stressful situations can forget that. But what about those times? When the world seems dark? When it feels that His person is so far from us? David described it in Psalm 63 like this:
“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63
Dry and weary land… my soul thirsts for You… David certainly knew how to write intense imagery, but I don’t think this was just from his heart. His very soul and body ached for the touch of the Lord upon him.
I know that there have been many times in my life where these words from David have been echoed in my whole being. Admittedly, they were not quite so eloquent. It was more like: “Okay! I’m sorry. I repent. Whatever I did I’m sorry. Please come back. I need You, and I can’t find You, Jesus. Where have You gone?” Yeah, not quite as eloquent as the Psalmist, but it was genuine nonetheless.
Silence Leads to Listening
However, on the flip side of all this, I’ve found that the silence of God has driven me closer to Him, rather than turn me away. When I feel like my mutterings and utterings are but echoes in the stratosphere, the thought pushes me closer to Him. See sometimes the reason we perceive the silence of the Lord is because we’re too involved in our conversation. We’re not listening enough. I’m not saying that the Lord manipulates us, but like anyone who can’t get a word in edgewise, I think sometimes the Lord quiets up to get our attention. (And really, if you look at the Bible and work on how many years it spans vs. the number of times He actually spoke… He is a God of few words.)
For someone like me who is a big talker, the silence of the Lord used to make me crazy. I lived in the perception that He wasn’t talking to me enough. What I’ve finally realized is my need to be an attentive listener to Him. While I might not audibly hear something, I will have the benefit of sitting silently before the One who made me, loves me and died for me.
I have the opportunity to wait on Him, to allow Him to fill me and prepare me for His purposes on this earth. It’s taken me a long time to understand this. I still don’t fully get it. But I know it’s needed. These verses from Lamentations sum it up perfectly for me:
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he should bear The yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and be silent Since He has laid it on him. Let him put his mouth in the dust, Perhaps there is hope. Let him give his cheek to the smiter, Let him be filled with reproach. For the Lord will not reject forever, For if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion According to His abundant lovingkindness.” Lamentations 3:24-32
So what about you? What has the silence of God done in your life? How have you dealt with times when you felt He was far away? Did it strengthen your walk with Him?