Tuesday, February 12, 2008

When God is Silent

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

We’ve all been there. Sometimes it seems that in our darkest hours God is silent. So silent that we think he is no longer there. We feel alone—deserted.

I’ve been reading a book written by Steven James titled, “Story, recapture the mystery” and one chapter is about God’s silence. He points out something that I’d never seen before and it helped me to connect with Jesus even deeper.

The passage is found in Matt.27:46 when Jesus cries from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In His greatest hour of need, his Father was silent. Steven pointed out that even Jesus didn’t know the answer to that question.

There are many promises in the Bible. Most are tied to our obedience. But there is one glaring promise given by Jesus that we’d rather not deal with. It is found in John 16:33, “In this world you WILL have trouble” (emphasis mine)

Why?

Because there is evil in this world system.

Even Jesus wasn’t spared from evil. He was poor, homeless, persecuted, rejected, mocked, beaten, deserted, and humiliated (stripped and hung naked on the cross in front of everyone including women). He was stalked, lied about, people used him in order to elevate their own position, and he was falsely accused, endured an unfair trial, was unjustly convicted, and suffered a brutal death.

But, as Steven James points out, Jesus didn’t give up on God. And God didn’t give up on him.
II Corinthians 5:7 says, “We live by faith, not by sight.” Steven writes that God’s silence offers us a choice to either abandon our faith or learn to trust God in the dark.

It is actually love that motivates God to teach us these hard lessons. Most of us in the civilized world have it good. We really do not know what it is like to go without eating for days at a time, or to not have clean cold water to bath in much less warm. But the day may come when we have to trust God for every meal.

Faith fed the multitudes with five loaves and two fish.
Faith healed the sick.
Faith found coins in a fish’s mouth.
Faith turned water into wine.
Faith filled empty jars with life giving oil.
Faith parted the red sea.

Faith is knowing God, the provider of all that we need. As we walk in the knowledge of that faith, we are free to think of others instead of ourselves. We are free to reach out in love.
Love never fails and love conquers evil.

Is God silent for you right now? There is a situation in my life where He is silent. I’m hanging on to I John 5:14, 15 “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”

The other day I gave in to lamenting the situation to God and He broke His silence long enough to encourage me with this: “Your circumstances do not change My truth.”

Friends, I encourage you to learn to trust God in the dark. Don’t give up on Him. He hasn’t given up on you.