It’s a new year and I haven’t written in my blog for 3 months. Usually, God will put something on my heart to share, but lately, things have been pretty quiet…internally, that is. I’ve been struggling with this silence and have wondered.. has God been absent? Or have I?
Silence…I’ve always hated it. It has been the trigger to so many negative emotions in my lifetime: fear, rejection, helplessness, loneliness and abandonment. Anything from being alone in a quiet house to the silence of unresolved conflict with someone I love. It all started when I was a kid. I remember the bitter silence of cold wars, fought between my Parents. When they fought, they’d go days without talking to each other and there was nothing I could do but wait. Feelings of brokenness and instability surrounded me until they would talk again.
Another memory was in my 5th grade year. My family moved from California to Washington State. I had this little crush on a boy for 4 years and even though it was puppy love, it was devastating to leave him behind. We wrote each other letters almost weekly and after 9 months of being away, my family came home for the holidays. We spoke over the phone and planned a visit. His Mom agreed to bring him over to our house for dinner and on the day he was to come, I woke up with anticipation and excitement. I couldn’t wait to see him and as the time grew closer, I sat and waited by the window for him to show up. But as it turned out, I waited all night. He never came or called and despite many attempts to contact him, I never heard from him again. I can’t even begin to describe the emotions I remember feeling for years from that single night; rejection, disappointment, abandonment, anger, confusion. I wanted to know why; I needed an answer and I never got one.
Then, as I entered my early twenties, I began battling a whole new kind of silence. Cochlear Otosclerosis, aka, Deafness. It was a major struggle that caused me great fear and insecurity. Although modern technology has helped with this, I still find myself wrestling with those emotions in certain situations. As I grew even older, silence became my worst enemy while dealing with infertility for over 3 years. Many times, I felt abandoned by God and I hated the quietness of my childless home. Although, looking back, my faith increased and I realized God had never left me at all. He eventually blessed me with beautiful children, but those three years of waiting were agonizing, to say the least.
There were many more small, but painful, moments of unwanted silence and waiting. With each one came the need to endure, get through it and wait for it to pass. However, I’ve always believed there’s a lesson God wants to teach me through each difficulty and He continues to show me some great things about faith, trust, patience and hope. But I never considered the ‘silence’ to be the lesson. Being alone, cold wars, deafness, infertility…I saw those as my problems and silence was just the gap of time to ‘get through’ it. A time to wait, like some sort of time out, until the lesson was learned or until God was ready to answer. So, I’d dredge through each muddy path of silence, seeking perseverance, long-suffering and hope, trying to remain confident that God would work out all things for HIS good. I thought all I had to do was wait for Him to show up, like the little girl in the window.
Now as an adult, I find myself still having childlike emotions when it comes to dealing with unwanted silence. “Why, after all these years, can’t I deal with it?” This has been my big question for the last 3 three months, and as I sought God for answers, daily, it became more and more clear. He began to show me that my need for answers was greater than my need for Him. While I thought I was increasing in faith, I was actually increasing in resentment. I thought I was building my character, but I was not learning God’s character. And while I believed I was waiting for Him to show up, He was actually waiting for ME to show up.
I’ve since begun to see that silence is often a divine appointment; an opportunity to spend time with the God I put my faith in. To seek Him ‘IN it’, instead of ‘getting THROUGH it’. He isn’t ignoring me or making ME wait, HE is waiting. He’s been there all along, giving me those precious moments of silence to sit in His presence, so He can reveal to me, WHO He is, not just what He can do. Oswald Chambers puts it best, “God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you WHO HE IS”. Silence is a gift; a date with the Heavenly Father. How can I not accept this invitation? If I show up, He will be there. He knows what I need before I even ask. (Matt. 6:8) How He answers me is much less important than having a close relationship with Him. This is the lesson and as this new year begins, so does my desire to welcome the silence that God gives me; to be willing to change the agonizing, silent waiting periods, into beautiful growing periods;
‘GROWING by KNOWING’…HIM.
John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”