I have not posted in some time. Since my last post I have celebrated a birthday, spent time with my friends and family, loved on my students, and been through several difficult situations, both professionally and personally. I’ve begun reading some great books and thought about many things to share on this blog. However, I did not post any of them. Writing ideas have invaded my thoughts constantly and the general outline for a novel has wound its way through my mind; however, I haven’t written it down so far.
This morning I woke to the urgency that it had been too long since my last blog post and that I needed to write something…but what? Yesterday was an extremely stressful day and I seem to be a bit worse for the wear (as my grandmother used to say) from the physical and emotional battles I have recently been fighting, not to mention the spiritual war that is currently raging. Some of my previous blog posts have mentioned this war, or at least one of the battles contained therein. Some posts have mentioned trusting God with my life and my relationship with God. Some posts have just been little tidbits of life lessons that I gleaned from watching and interacting with people. All of these thoughts and comments are a part of who I am as a person.
But today the uppermost thought on my mind is wondering why I feel that I am in a void and cannot seem to get past it? This void has constantly permeated my everyday life and although it comes and goes, I am very aware of it. The heavens are silent. I pray, but it seems like I am conversing with a brick wall, or as someone used to say: “My prayers don’t feel like they are reaching past the ceiling.” Is this because I am expecting a visible, tangible, immediate answer? Is it because I ask amiss? These questions have plagued me. God is such an important part of my life that I don’t understand not being able to feel His arms around me. I draw strength from my relationship with Him and it made me wonder if He was just tired of hearing the same thing from me over and over again, so He withdrew.
So, this morning when I walked into the living room to get the laptop and try to figure out what to post, I reached for my devotional and remembered that I had not read the one for October 11th, yesterday’s date. I always try to go back if I forget to read one and usually I realize that if I had only read it when I was supposed to, I would have been much better off when facing the difficulties of that particular day.
I hope I am not violating copyright laws by posting some of this, but I had to share it. This is from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers:
“Has God trusted you with His silence-a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers…”
The devotional goes on to quote the Scripture from the story of Lazarus’ death and how Jesus stayed two extra days before he returned to Bethany. Two days of silence in Bethany where they did not know what to do. They knew Jesus intimately and personally. Mary sought Jesus by sitting at His feet and listening to His voice while Martha loved Him and believed she best served Him by doing things for Him. Obviously both were in the same boat in this story because Jesus was silent. Everything they had heard Him say or anything they had done for Him didn’t matter at this point. All those moments spent in His presence didn’t count in the obvious silence of His absence. He didn’t come in the time they allotted and when they were at their lowest and their hearts were breaking. So, let’s continue reading:
“Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is a sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible—with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation.”
At this point of the reading, I wanted to scream: “I CANNOT take any more surprises or revelations!” However, I refrained and kept reading:
“If God has given you a silence, then praise Him—He is bringing you into the mainstream of his purposes…Time is nothing to God.” (You are preaching to the choir here. I am already praising Him and I know that He does not get in hurry to do anything….These are just the thoughts going through my head as I read this.)
At this point, the devotional goes into the Scripture about asking for bread and receiving a stone. That is what I have felt like recently. Not only did I receive a stone, but it felt like it was thrown at me.
I continued to read and by the time I read the last line of the devotional it began to sink in and I could feel those arms wrap around me once again:
“If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of his intimacy—silence.”
I have searched and sought to deepen my relationship with Jesus and yet I did not recognize when I had achieved what I sought. Intimacy means that I have reached a new level of relationship, a new knowledge of the person with whom I am in a relationship. Intimacy is about knowledge through communication. It did not occur to me that silence was a form of communication.
It is not coincidence the devotional for yesterday was about silence. The Scripture tells us, and this is something that I recently discussed with a friend, when Jesus stood up to read in the synagogue as a young man, the Scripture for that day was fulfilled and He made the statement it was fulfilled. This was not some random act or coincidence, but planned many years in advance and orchestrated by God.
I truly believe that God loves me enough to know what I need and in my despair over being left conversing with a brick wall, I failed to read the words He had left for me to reassure me that He is with me and that He is taking me to a new level in our relationship. Now, the silence is golden and I feel nourished with bread instead of a stone.
Women tend to have twice as many words in a day they need to speak than men, or so I have been told. I had reached the point of using up all my words and still felt like I had gotten nowhere, but it was not in the words, tears, or prayers that I prayed where I found my answer. It was in the silence and maybe that is why I have not written or posted until today. This may not be a big revelation to anyone but me, but it is what I have to share, so here it is.
So, please enjoy the silences and know that you are not alone, but that you may be in transition to a deeper level of intimacy in your relationship.
Until next time…
P.S. My favorite promise verse from the One who never breaks His promises:
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”