God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19 NIV)
Writer’s block. In all honesty, that’s what I have while sitting here writing this article. Usually when I write an FYI, I feel like God is telling me a theme or a verse. I don’t know how to explain it any more than that. Or I find something in my devotions that sticks with me for a couple of weeks. This time? It seems like silence.
If memory serves me well, I’ve written about stepping down or becoming silent myself in order to hear God. But what happens when God is silent? What happens when you pray without ceasing you don’t get an answer—not just an “I don’t think I heard Him” or a denial of the answer you did get, but absolute silence. It’s not even that you don’t feel His presence; the Holy Spirit has been gifted to you. But just silence.
We know that God can be quiet in many ways; there wasn’t a prophet to the Israelites for 400 hundred years before John the Baptist and Jesus. For me, I find this silence to be one of the most difficult kinds. In frustration, it’s easy for me to fall to one of these five misconceptions about God: that He is angry (like vengeful angry), withholding, hard to please, boring or disappointed.
But the Bible is chock full of the many wonderful, unchanging and unfailing aspects of who God is. So in the silence, I am to remember that God is none of those misconceptions. God’s anger is righteous, and I don’t know if any of us can truly grasp what that means because none of us are perfectly righteous. Withholding might be the one I struggle with most, but then God knows me better than myself. The feeling that He’s withholding also stems from the idea that I deserve an answer. I don’t deserve anything. God isn’t hard to please; Jesus is the greatest example of God’s unconditional love. So, by that alone, there’s nothing more to be done. I’m going to skip over God being boring because that’s just silly. And the other one I get stuck on is God being disappointed. But God loves a fallen people, and I’m sure He’s seen the full spectrum of disappointing things—more than I care to know. And yet, His plan for us doesn’t change.
When God chooses to be silent, His reasons don’t fit in with our human misconceptions. I think that’s His realm of being Lord.
Well, it’s a miracle. Suddenly there are words!