Can God Trust You with Silence
“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.
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?
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 www.godspeakstoday.blogspot.com