Posts Tagged ‘when god is silent’
When God is Silent
Jb.30:20; Ps.22:1-3; 73:25
In tearful prayer I sought the face of God,
The agony contorting all my soul
Time and again, abject before His throne
In faith, yielding to His divine control.
And yet, the deafening silence seemed austere.
Did all my heartfelt words not reach His ear?
Did God now speak and I just didn’t hear?
Does some sin block the way and interfere?
Anthropomorphic thoughts entered my mind.
Is God distant or me too far away?
Is He forming good answer to provide?
Is silence criticizing what I say?
Is it preferred to amphigoric word?
Does it express a scorn of what I’ve slurred?
Or is silence consent and He’s concurred?
Does He expect persistence undeterred?
Silence strengthens my God’s authority
Though both be misinterpreted by me.
It’s inescapably a form of speech
Yet puts any misquoting out of reach.
Emotions flood my soul and fluctuate;
Terror, despair, desertion all conflate.
I only hear in changing shades of grey;
The space between the notes just seems to splay.
While I’m bewildered in this wilderness
I sing lament that’s in a minor key.
Disoriented by what I perceive
I turn to promises He’s made to me.
Bombarded by dark maelstrom of doubts
I cling to faith though battered by debris.
Time stretches on as I still listen to
The sound of silence, an eternity.
Does absence of reply make heart grow fond
Of words that He has said and man has penned?
Does thirst unquenched mean that I soon will find
Refreshment, living water without end?
Is suffering the best way to refine
My character, Christ-likeness to portend?
Does scarcity and my longing for more
Mean redirection to what does transcend?
When I come to the point I realize
That I most want the Giver, not the gift,
That I do pine for Him down deep within,
That hunger, thirst in times I am adrift
Will find their satisfaction in my God,
Then suddenly I find my soul does lift.
The silence is not deprivation but
Anticipation that makes focus shift.
The silence now is closeness we enjoy,
Comfortable, sign of intimacy,
Loving communion with no need for words,
An understanding of His constancy,
His faithfulness, His wisdom, power and grace,
Patiently waiting on His sovereignty.
Silence is wonderful to listen to
In inexpressible propinquity.
by Ken Lievers, October 6, 2016
I’ve been following the comic strip, Coffee With Jesus, for a few years now. I appreciate how the strip uses humour to make a point. Sometimes that point hits uncomfortably close to home!
I may or may not own a Hawaiian shirt.
The premise is pretty simple: it’s usually four panes showing someone interacting with Jesus. There is a limited cast of characters; each strip features one of the characters. I’ve come to recognize and identify with the different characters as I follow the strip.
Sometimes the comic is funny. Sometimes it is more touching. Sometimes it is very convicting.
Every once in a while it is profound.
As we’ve journeyed together through our sermon and small group series, we’ve been learning that when God is silent, he is not powerless. Sometimes when God is silent he is working most powerfully. Although God never appeared or spoke to Joseph, he was orchestrating events to get Joseph into a position to save his family and a nation from devastating famine.
However, when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, our real question isn’t “God, what are you doing?” but “God, where are you?” This comic reminds me that when God is silent, he is not absent. Even when Joseph was in jail, the Lord was with him. Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, the Lord is with me (Psalm 23).
This comic also reminds me that Jesus is not unmoved by the hurt and pain of our experiences. It reminds me that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15). It reminds me that Jesus wept at his friend’s grave.
As Peter Kreeft puts it in Lee Strobel’s The Case for Faith: “Jesus is there, sitting beside us in the lowest places of our lives… Are we broken? He was broken, like bread, for us. Are we despised? He was despised and rejected of men. Do we cry out that we can’t take it anymore? He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Do people betray us? He was sold out himself. Are our tenderest relationships broken? He too loved and was rejected… Every tear we shed becomes his tear. He may not wipe them away yet, but he will.”
Until that day, I can be confident that even when life is hard and he is silent that he is still present, he is still in control, and he still loves me very much, even though, as the psalmist says, “his footprints were not seen” (Psalm 77:19).
For more Coffee with Jesus go to www.radiofreebabylon.com
How much time passed between the Testaments?
400 years. Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther are thought to be the last books written before the New Testament. During this period, no biblical prophet spoke or wrote. This period is called, ‘the period of silence’.
Is God silent in your life because of unconfessed sin, or because of testing? (Discussed at church @ 6.)
Ian mentioned that sin has been dealt with in Jesus Christ. Job 1: 21 says, the Lord gives and takes away. Therefore, God’s silence is not a result of your sin.
Of course, sin does hinder our growth. As Peter says (1 Peter 2:1 – 3), rid yourselves of all ‘sin” , crave pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.
Is there consequence for sin? Yes. Sin was the reason Jesus hung on a cross. Sin was the reason Israel was exiled. Does that mean God is absent or not involved? No
Does God use silence to test us? Yes. The book of Job is a great example of this. Joseph is another example. He was tested and tried through God’s silence. But God was not absent.
The main point is, we can’t always know why God is silent… But the human experience and the Bible show us that He is perceived to be silent often (almost every book wrestles with this reality). We must remember God is never absent. From scripture, His silence is used for testing, for character development, as a result of sin, and probably many more reasons that we don’t know.
How can we help friends who are going through dark times?
Sometimes, we like to explain their suffering. Sometimes, this isn’t helpful. We see from Job’s friends in the book of Job that they weren’t helpful telling Job why all these bad things were happening to him. They said it is because of sin or unrepentance. But God actually rebukes Job’s friends (Job 42: 7), “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken right”. So telling friends why they are suffering may not be wise at some points. Though, in other times, a word of Truth can be helpful but you must use discernment.
Practically, how can we help during dark times?
It does depend greatly on what the dark time is but often times, here are some tips:
Presence – being available to them (discerning how much presence is tough, some people like to be left alone, some like more time )
Listening – unlike Job’s friends, we ought to listen to our friends lament and wrestle with God.
Food – If a loved one dies, food is a practical need people have; a very practical gift to let people know you are thinking of them and eases the day to day demands on their schedule if they don’t have to cook for themselves.
What if the person is struggling with consequences of sin?
Reality is, some people like living in their own garbage. They can abuse and take advantage of your grace and kindness because they don’t want to deal with their issues.
For example, someone may be going through a dark time in their marriage… You then discover they are addicted to porn. This is a time for challenge not silence because their situation is directly related to their action and is in their control; unlike other situations that are outside of one’s control. Sin is dangerous and only leads to death and destruction. When people choose to follow the path of destruction, we often feel hopeless to help. As difficult as it is watch, one ought to continue to pray and be available (within reason) and remember, Romans 8 where Paul says, nothing can separate us from God’s love. Like the story of the Prodigal son (Luke 15) are posture becomes one of ‘open arms’ praying, waiting, hoping the son returns. However, it does appear one has to let them go. That is difficult to do.
The Silent Times
Those seven silent days
Job’s friends saw suffering, grief.
While they did hold their peace
God did not bring relief. (Job 2:13)
Those nine months slowly passed.
He didn’t say one word
But mulled over all that
God promised and ensured. (Lk.1:13, 20, 64-65)
Those thirteen years enslaved
The heavens seemed like brass.
Joseph was true to God
Though all seemed an impasse. (Gn.37:2; 41:46)
Four silent centuries
No hope for any change
The bondage without end
The thought of God grew strange. (Gn.15:13)
Three hours upon the cross
Abandoned, all alone,
He died for all mankind
And did for sin atone. (Mk.15:33)
Those times were bleak and dark
So heavy, fraught with pain,
They never seemed to end
And every hope did strain.
Durations don’t compare.
The present does preside;
The silence palpable;
The past and future hide.
God’s promise He does keep;
His plan nothing can thwart;
His timetable abstruse;
His glory won’t fall short.
by Ken Lievers (February 5, 2013)