Saturday, October 15, 2016

How To Interpret God's Silence

Hey Friend,

I've heard it said that the Teacher (God) is silent during the test.  I'll revisit this thought in a moment, but for now let's go with that theory.

I'll tell you where my mind goes...straight back to Jr. High in Miss McDowell's English class.  Miss McDowell was an older teacher - an institution at Jefferson Jr. High School.  She was rather tall and quite sturdy.  Everyday she wore dresses, matronly pumps, and fiery red lipstick on her pursed lips.  

When she administered a test, there was no sirreeee.  There was no asking questions.  Even muffled paper shuffling would make per pause and peer over her reading glasses as she sat at her desk in front of the class.  "Is there a problem Mr. Johnson?" she'd ask with the warmth of the Spanish Inquisition.

I think sometimes that's how we perceive God when we are going through a time of trial or a test.  I know I have looked at Him that way in the past.

God is not a crotchety, silent teacher administering tests and waiting for us to fail.

My view of God has shifted over the years as I have come to believe the Truth about His character.  Here is a stance I have adopted...

When things are going well (or relatively so), I believe that we are to fill our minds with His Truth...meditating on it every day.

Then, when the trials come (and they will), I don't interpret God's seeming silence as indifference or turning His back on us...just the opposite.  I believe He says lovingly and with encouragement, "Bev (Name), okay now I want YOU to speak the Truth I've taught you into your circumstances."  

I believe He does this in the apparent silence so that we can profess and speak the only Truth that will bring any form of peace, comfort, hope, joy, and love....His Holy Word.  The Truth is what sets us free!

I may be all wrong, but I do believe that God gives us opportunities (when the rubber meets the road) to confess the hope that we have within us.  

We need to keep speaking into our circumstances and calling on our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray with and for us.

So back to the initial God truly silent?  I do believe that if we are walking in disobedience, God is not going to shout the Truth at us.  I also believe that sometimes, due to our circumstances and emotions, God may appear to be silent and distant.  But, that is not in keeping with His character.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

God is steadfast which means He is unswerving, unalterable, He cannot be moved. His loved toward us never fails or falters.  It is changeless. 

God is as near as a whisper and He never goes "Miss McDowell" on us.  He may not be speaking to us in a way that we can hear at the moment, but He is always speaking - in His Creation, through His people, in His word.

Think about it - if we are going through a trial or test - God always gives us an "open book" test because His Word (Bible) is always available to us.  

"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me."  (Psalm 

God may not speak audibly, but He speaks and He sustains through His Word to us.  Our job is to meditate on His Word and to ask the counselor He gives us, in the person of the Holy Spirit, to be our wise guide.  

There may be times that God seems to be silent, but I'm not certain that the apparent silence isn't born out of OUR circumstances, moods, disobedience, sin, or failing to seek Him first above all things.  

I'm so thankful that God is mindful of my sinful frame and knows I am but dust. I believe He is always wanting to speak life into my life, but sometimes my prideful agenda and self-sufficiency gets in the way.  

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

I'm no theologian, but I believe that God is always speaking in one form or another. When I look back at the times in my life when He seemed to be silent, I believe that I was the one who wasn't listening.

How about you?  How does God speak to you in good times?  In the midst of trials?  Has He ever seemed silent to you?  What Truth have you learned about God's character?

Dear Heavenly Father,  I praise you that you speak to me in so many ways...through the beauty of Your creation, the loving words of others, and especially through the love letter you have written to us - your Holy Word, the Bible.  Thank you for being a loving God who encourages us to speak the Truth into our circumstances.  I praise you that you are a God who coaches and encourages vs. chides and condemns.  Your will is that we would hear your voice and turn from our evil ways.  Grant me ears to hear you Lord.  Drown out the voice of the enemy.  I praise you that your steadfast love for me endures forever.  Praise be to your name. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed...