Internet Cafe

Friday, November 21, 2008

Can God Trust You with Silence

The Internet Cafe welcomes Guest Contributor Sandy Cooper!

“Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick…Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.” (John 11:1-3,6) NIV

Can you imagine the deafening silence in the household of Mary and Martha in the days following Lazarus' death? Silence, except, of course, for the questions expressed between sobs and moans...

"Where is Jesus?"

"Are you sure you told him Lazarus was very sick?"

"Why isn't he coming?"

"I thought he loved us..."

In June 1998, I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my precious 9-month-old son, Noah. Though I was surrounded by loved ones comforting and aiding in funeral preparations, the silence from God was deafening. Frightening, actually. For the first time in my life, I found myself questioning God's motives and His ability to act on my behalf.

Like Mary, I was comfortable worshiping at the feet of Jesus. I loved spending time in His presence, soaking up every word coming from His mouth. I was Jesus' friend and I knew it, never hesitating to ask Him for anything.

But there I was... instead of receiving the divine healing I prayed for, I was sitting in a hospital room singing lullabies to a shell of what used to be my baby. I was picking out caskets and floral arrangements and wording for an obituary. And in the chaos of the days that followed, all I heard from heaven was silence. Silence, except, of course, for the questions expressed between sobs and moans... "Where are you, Jesus?" "Don't you know that Noah died? "Why aren't you coming?" "I thought You loved me" "I thought I loved you..."

Oswald Chambers in his book My Utmost for His Highest says that God’s silences are actually His answers. That when we cannot hear Him, it’s because He is trusting us in the most intimate way possible. When there is absolute silence, He is leading us to even deeper revelation and into the mainstream of His purposes.

The mainstream of His purposes. I love that.

Though ten years ago, no one could have explained to me that God was bringing me to the mainstream of His purposes or giving me deeper revelation. Quite frankly, I could not have cared less about “purposes” or “revelation.” All I wanted was my baby.

During God’s silence, I pounded on Heaven's door and demanded a response. I screamed, fought, yelled, and cried. I beat my pillows and threw things across my kitchen. I wrestled with God—quite literally. With truths I previously thought to be sound, but now questioned. With clarification as to who He was, exactly...and what He promised and did not promise, exactly. With whether or not I could trust a God who would give me a good parking space at the mall, but would deny me the healing of my little boy.

All because of the silence.

Slowly, carefully, lovingly, God spoke. And He revealed that He never really left, but was holding me more tightly than ever. I heard Him say;

I love you.

I know how much it hurts.

Ask me anything you need to.

Don't give up.

I understand.

Trust Me.

Unlike Mary and Martha, I never received an explanation as to why Noah died or the miracle of his resurrection. The miracle I received instead was my resurrection.

God took me from a crumbled mess of tears and sorrow and transformed me into a woman full of joy and expectancy. He took me from one doubting the goodness and power of God to a woman who now falls on her face daily in awe of God's bigness. From a woman asking, "where are you Jesus?" to a woman who confidently shows others the way.

Can God trust you with silence?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to trust You even when I can’t hear You. Help me to remember the promise that You will never leave me or forsake me, even when I can’t feel You. Help me to walk by faith and not by sight. I submit every painful and confusing situation in my life to Your care and ask that you use it for my good. Allow me to be transformed into Your likeness, so I can fulfill the mainstream of Your purposes for my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Questions to Ponder:

1. What is your first response when you can’t hear God?

2. What might be some reasons that you can’t hear Him?

In Him,

I am a wife of 15 years to my best friend, Jon and mother to four beautifully crafted children, one of whom passed away at the age of nine months and two of whom are adopted. I am a sometimes-freelance writer and editor, health nut and fitness buff. I love to sing and dance in my kitchen with my kids and be around people who make me laugh. My goal in life is to someday humbly stand before my Heavenly Father with my precious family and hear Him say, "Well done good and faithful servant."

For more on hearing God’s voice, visit my blog

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Blogger 2nd Cup of Coffee said...

This is beautiful, Sandy. The Chambers commentary is one that has stuck with me for years. I think when Christians go through depression, we are surprised by the apparent silence, and many lose hope and feel their thriving spirit life deflate. Your post, speaking to perhaps the worst pain to bear, is a great encouragement to so many who will stop by here. Thank you for sharing your story and your hope with those who are so thirsty for that today.

November 21, 2008 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

This is so very lovely, be blessed dear.

November 21, 2008 at 5:37 AM  
Blogger Homesteader in Training said...

I reacted in every way that you did when I miscarried at 16 weeks. I asked for a healing but didn't get it, I asked for a miracle, I didn't get it. I felt abandoned by God but a week after my loss the Lord revealed himself to me. I had a vision of when I was miscarrying on my bed and feeling alone, but this time the Lord was sitting next to me, sobbing right along with me and experiencing the same pain I was. He never left me. After that the healing process really began. God is so good. But sometimes His silence is hard.
Thank you for sharing this. It touched my heart.

November 21, 2008 at 6:14 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Wow--that was a powerful post. I read somewhere a while back that Mother Teresa said she had not 'heard' from God in many, many years. I can't imagine that. Thanks for sharing.

November 21, 2008 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Betsy Markman said...

Reminds me of that verse, "God withdrew from him in order to test him, that he might know all that was within his heart" (2 Chr. 32:31b). During those times of silence, God reveals much to us about our own hearts, and helps us to come to know Him better in the process. In my case, one of the things God had to show me was how I really felt about Him...and it wasn't a pretty sight. But I'm so glad He showed that to me so I could be cleansed, and could develop a much better, deeper relationship with Him.

He truly is the Great Physician, and that means He knows just where, and when, and how deep to cut, not just how to heal.

November 21, 2008 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

I simply can't imagine what it is to lose a child. I thank you though for sharing honestly about your first response when God didn't answer as you hoped He would.

There have been times when I pray and pray and hear no answer. In fact, I feel like I'm in one of those times now. I remember how He has been faithful in the past. My journals testify to that but it's good to remember. I remind myself of His attributes of love, faithfulness, and mercy. He is sovereign and He sees and knows all of the details, pain, etc. I must trust Him because He is trustworthy. I also check the motive in my heart concerning what I'm praying for. And I also ask that He would reveal any unconfessed sin in my life that might be standing in the way.

I believe that as I look back on other periods of silence, that seems to be when I learn the most. It's easy to praise and love God when life is wonderful. But when there are challenges, do I still praise, worship and love Him? Yes, I do!

November 21, 2008 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger karin said...

There have been a number of times in my long life where God has been 'silent'. As comes out in all the comments as well as your post, God uses those times to develop in us a deeper faith and trust - if we let Him. He is an awesome God to love us so! Thanks for your post today.

November 21, 2008 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

What a blessing this post is. He truly has traded your ashes in for beauty. I cannot even imagine the pain in the process. Thank you for being brave enough to share this.

November 21, 2008 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Thanks so much to all of you who read my devotion today and took the time to comment or come by my blog. I'm so blessed to be a small part of this awesome little community you have here.

Sandy Cooper

November 21, 2008 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Gorgeous words. Thank you for sharing your heart.

What an amazing, amazing God we serve - who can use the worst thing imaginable to his glory. You have glorified him Sister.

November 22, 2008 at 12:29 AM  
Blogger BizzieLizzie said...

Oh, thank you for this - this is so what I needed to hear this cold morning. I lost my dearest, dearest brother in May and I don't understand why it had to be him and I don't like that it was him. I have 6 other brothers and sisters that I am not close to at all and I feel like God took the one that I needed. I pray daily for wisdom to move on and to understand - it's not for me to know why, just to trust in Him as to the reasons. Thank you for sharing your grief so openly. You are one of His answers for me!!

November 22, 2008 at 6:13 AM  
Blogger Joanne Sher said...

Oooh, beautiful! God's silence as an answer. Incredibly insightful. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

November 22, 2008 at 11:14 AM  

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