~By Rachel Scibek
There have been many times when I feel God is more silent then active in my life. I think the silence of God is often forgotten when reading through the Bible because, well, you’re reading through it. You go from one great story to the next reading of the action that was taken. But it is all too easy to forget about the time that elapsed in between. This week’s meditation is a good time and place to step back and do that.
Israel faced four hundred years of silence. Through that time they experienced war, they were discouraged and they were hoping for the promised coming Messiah. Through that hope they developed many false concepts and beliefs of who this Messiah would be – many had the concept that he would be a national hero, the one to destroy all their enemies and restore the power and glory of Israel here, now on earth. When Christ came they got something very different, but that’s not for this week.
God’s silences are powerful and I have found that they tend to reveal what’s deep within my heart. In waiting on God I have always found myself faced with a scary realization: do I only believe in a God who is always present and close or can I accept the fact that sometimes God may step back and feel silent and distant? Yikes. Or digging a little deeper, do I only want a God who makes me happy or can I accept that God is bigger and more wise than my understanding and is not as concerned with my happiness as he is with my holiness?
I feel God’s silence heavily with unanswered prayer, and when I have flare-ups of chronic pain. I must say, when I have found God silent I am not the serene saint. I have had some frank, angry conversations with God that have involved some yelling and foul words. I have pressed, begged and pleaded for answers to my prayers. I have mourned and searched my heart, wondering if he is displeased and pulling away in anger.
In and through these times I continue to seek; I continue to pray, continue to read the word, continue to ask for prayer, continue to yell. And eventually – not in my timing – he answers. At a time when I never expect it and in a way I could not imagine. The most awesome thing is it is always a word of grace – a word of delight in me as his child.
It does not make the times of waiting any easier, but it does make them more hopeful; provided our hope is firmly grounded in God’s glory and not our own happiness, provided that we pursue the truth of Scripture and do not try to interpret things as we like. Then, we can be like Anna and Simeon (Luke 2:25-38) who had been waiting for the consolation of Israel with hope and who got to see the Consolation as a child. When the waiting ends (as it eventually will) we will see God’s glory in a new and more glorious way then we ever could have imagined.
~Rachel Scibek is an MDiv student in Ministry Leadership at Columbia International University. If you want to read more check out her blog at racalina.blogspot.com.
For Further Reading: Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey – According to Rachel, this book is “AWESOME,” and she reads a lot so Rebecca tends to believe her. Rachel also recommends When I don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy by John Piper.
One thought on “When God is Silent”
This is beautiful, Rachel. I have waited through many silences too! I have not had to bear a lot of physical pain, but I have had a lot of emotional pain. You are SO RIGHT that the only way to hope properly is to for the hope to be based on God, not ourselves. It’s so hard when I’m right in the middle of it. I have found that it’s all about TRUST. If I don’t trust in God’s love for me, in His love of the person I am sad about, in HIS timing……..then I turn bitter. I find I have to keep pushing the bitterness out and keep turning to God, forgiveness, and trust in Him. And you know, I have witnessed many answered prayers and miracles…..even though some of them took years to come about! Unfortunately I’m back in the middle of another prayer battle/trust/waiting/hurt/sadness/waiting on my Father…….thank you for reminding me about how to wait properly.