Have you ever found yourself in a season of God's Silence, where you've prayed and prayed...only to hear static on the other line? Have you ever felt like you are stuck in a Waiting Room...and God forgot you were there? If so, you are not the first, and you are not alone. The good news is that there are actually things that YOU can do...even when it feels like God is doing nothing.
TURN THE PAGE
The Bible, at times, can take incredible liberty in its literary form. There are some sections of the Bible that read as objective history, others as first-person narrative. The Bible can take 100 pages to cover one specific moment in time while another section can cover 100 years in a single sentence.
One of those sections is the space between the book of Malachi and Matthew. Depending on the Bible, it can be anywhere from 1 page to 3 pages. It is the space between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament, but it represents so much more than that. Those few pages represent the space between two eras - the way God used to relate to us and the way He does now. It is the space between the Old Way of the Law and the New Way of Grace. And God chooses to fill that space in between the Old and the New with...Silence.
Biblical Historians have taught us that the time between the events from the end of the book of Malachi to the beginning of the book of Matthew is roughly 400 years. 400 years...of silence. This is a unique period in human history. It is a time when God is utterly silent. Not absent … just silent. Like the calm before a storm. A receding tide pulled back into heaven before crashing upon our shores. It is like the often unnoticed but ever-important moment between breathing in and breathing out.
This is a significant moment. All of heaven, hell, and everything in between would be affected. The landscape of eternity would be altered. Human history would now have its middle point. All of this was in play, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at it. You never can quite tell when you're entering into a season of Silence. You only tend to know when it's over.
GOD'S SENSE OF TIMING
God has an interesting sense of timing, in that it is absolutely nothing like ours and we often don't understand it. God’s sense of timing is neither predictable nor arbitrary. It is something else. It is His. And for those of us who have sat through a season silence, whether yours may have looked and lasted differently than mine, we do have this in common - neither of us would have chosen it. All the talk of God, the secondhand promises of friends, the daily disappointment if not disillusionment with a God who seems to have left the building -it can seem like too much to bear. And perhaps for you it has been.
All this waiting may have left you wanting. Wanting a God who coordinates better with your schedule and is willing to get on board with your agenda. Wanting the power of God without the perspective of God. Wanting God to steer the course of His will in our direction, to forgo the rest of humanity and any sense of a grand redemptive narrative that involves all people throughout all time and just throw us a bone and give us the answer / job / relationship / direction that we want.
HOLDING OUT. HOLDING ON.The silence can be deafening. The waiting, wrenching. But if you can hold out. If you can hold on. If you can wait, be it 4 weeks, 4 years, 400 years … something new will be born in you. God’s presence becomes your deliverance and not simply an entitlement.
You will get a glimpse, if only for a moment, that the grand redemptive arc of God does not need to point solely in your direction. If you can hold on, you will see that in the silence and in the waiting, God will give you something far greater than an "answer." In the midst of all your kicking and screaming, your walking out and running away, God has actually been quietly growing something in you that simply could not bloom in any other season. Through the season of silence, God grows your Faith. In the end you will be able to look back and say with the tender confidence of David, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1)
Are you in a Season of Silence right now? Have you been seeking and asking God for something specific in your life and are hearing nothing? If so, you need to know this:
- You are NOT Alone.
Others have gone before you in this Silence, and there are many who sit with you in the midst of this mystery right now. Be encouraged by those standing in the silence with you.
- Silence is not synonymous with Absence.
Just because you are not hearing from God doesn't mean that He's not listening to you and being present with you. This is where our Faith becomes Trust - when we believe that God is still GOOD even when it doesn't "feel" that way on the surface.
- God honors Authentic Persistence.
Jesus told several stories about God's heart for persistent prayer. And how...in time...in HIS time...He honors and answers. Can you hold on? Can you wait on God? Can you inhabit the spirit of Psalm 40:1 and stay one more day...one more week...one more month?
- Lean into where God is ALREADY Speaking.
In my Seasons of Silence and Waiting, I've found great comfort from and even connection to God through the Bible. Rather than rushing to get my "answer" from the Bible, I have grown more when I let God speak to me as HE wants to speak to me through the Bible. This is why my relationship with the Holy Spirit is so important. Because the Holy Spirit prays FOR me and speaks TO me through the Bible and the presence and wisdom of others in my life. When God the Father is silent...the Spirit is not.
What if you began praying to the Holy Spirit? What if you asked the Spirit to do what the Spirit has already promised it would do - to intercede for you to the very heart of God?
If you would like to learn MORE about what you can do while it seems like God is doing nothing...then check out this FANTASTIC Teaching from Jeanne Stevens.