“O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God.”
Psalm 83:1 (NIV)
Have you ever asked God a question about your life, an important decision you have to make or for guidance and wisdom … and all you hear is silence?
I’ve experienced that multiple times throughout my life. I’ve had many discussions about that with Christian friends and they have been quick to remind me God gave Abraham the promise of being the father of many nations … and then He was silent for 25 years before it was fulfilled. Noah was 500 years old when God told him to build the ark … and he was 600 years old when God told him to enter the ark. Moses wandered the desert for 40 years learning how to survive in those conditions so that he could then lead the Israelites through the desert for 40 years. And … did you know that God was completely silent for 400 years between the end of Malachi (the Old Testament) and when Gabriel spoke to Mary in the New Testament of Matthew? Four hundred years of silence …
With the above examples, how can I be upset when I think God doesn’t answer me soon enough because I don’t get an immediate answer? I can’t imagine the lifespan of four of our generations going through life without hearing from God. I know God had a divine purpose for that silence … He has a divine purpose for everything He chooses to do and I’m not arguing or debating His choice. I’m just saying I think we’re blessed we serve God who chooses to talk to us and wants to have a personal, living relationship with us. I, for one, want to take advantage of that relationship and talk with Him as often as possible.
I was talking to a friend the other day and we were discussing the concept of praying without ceasing. Praying throughout the day. I was telling her I thank Him for being able to merge onto the highway without having cars all around, I ask Him to help me with the work I have to accomplish that day that feels overwhelming, I ask for His wisdom and advice about which books to write, which jobs to take and what to make for dinner. I ask Him what books He wants me to read, thank Him for the time to read them or the work to keep me busy. I talk to Him about the big things, little things and everything in between. I ask for wisdom and blessings on our marriage, on any issues our kids are dealing with, thank Him for the many blessings He provides daily (whether it’s an unexpected gift or a hug from my husband). I talk to God continuously and when I’m not talking to Him, I’m sitting in silence listening for Him to talk to me or worshipping Him through singing along with the radio or the song He has put on my heart.
Silence … I’ve always associated silence with something bad. Silent treatment. Someone is displeased with me. Pins and needles. However, I’m learning in my relationship with God silence isn’t always bad. Sometimes God allows silence between us so that I will pray harder, listen closer or wait … until He’s ready to speak. Sometimes silence is a faith test. Will I walk in the direction He asked me to walk before I see what He’s going to do?
Silence can be very difficult to break down and figure out what exactly it means. But silence can also be the perfect place to find God and really hear His voice. Trust God in the silence in your own life. Ask Him questions and then sit silently waiting for His answer. Trust the promise He gave you ahead of time and keep walking in that direction until you see the promise fulfilled. When we come to God with the right attitude of wanting His will, He will answer, in His time.
© Cheri Swalwell 2018