Wednesday, June 9, 2010

When God is Silent

Silence is defined as a quiet stillness, the absence of noise or speech. Not a concept that we are very familiar with in these times. As a matter of fact, it is something we generally like to avoid. Silence can lead to introspection and we certainly do not want that! I believe Satan hates silence. Jim Elliot was quoted as saying: “I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds. Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.” I also believe that God puts great value on silence and uses it as a tool for our spiritual growth.

When we enter into difficult trials and tribulations in our life the first thing we usually do is cry out to God with expectations of what we hope is a quick answer to all our troubles. But what happens when our fervent prayers are met with silence? A deafening silence that seems to go on and on. We beg and plead for answers to the how, when, where and why but receive silence in return. The longer the period of silence the greater the struggle to maintain our faith. We begin to have doubts and questions. We run through a cycle of emotions from discouragement to depression to despair. Where is God? Does any of this sound familiar?

We can receive great comfort from the book of Job concerning God’s silence for it is something he had first hand experience with. When Job entered into a horrific trial where he lost everything, he was forced to persevere with no answers. Job’s faith was stretched to the limits. Faith came easy at first but became harder with each day that passed. God eventually answered Job, though reasons were never given. That is our Sovereign God’s prerogative after all.

When God is silent he is asking us simply to put our full trust in Him. To endure patiently the trial with a strength that only He can give until the silence is broken. From personal experience, waiting on God in His silence is one the hardest things I have ever had to do. I recently ran across a song by Andrew Peterson titled “The Silence of God”.

You will find it below with a copy of the lyrics. It is my opinion that those lyrics could have only been written by someone who has experienced the silence of God because they are words that could have come straight from my heart.

The Silence of God

It's enough to drive a man crazy; it'll break a man's faith
It's enough to make him wonder if he's ever been sane
When he's bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the heaven's only answer is the silence of God

It'll shake a man's timbers when he loses his heart
When he has to remember what broke him apart
This yoke may be easy, but this burden is not
When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God

And if a man has got to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they've got
When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
'Cause we all get lost sometimes...

There's a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
And He's kneeling in the garden, as silent as a Stone
All His friends are sleeping and He's weeping all alone

And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God

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