On the Edge of Something
God has gone silent. This isn't the first time, but it is unique. Usually, the reason I can't hear God is because I've stopped listening. But this time, it's different. I've been before Him, asking to be shown if there's anything I've done or failed to do that's pushing me away from Him. I've repented, reformed, confessed...and still, silence.
God and I used to talk to each other. A lot. I would ask a question, and He would give an answer, just like that. After a relationship of this sort, the past few weeks of almost-total silence have been unnerving, terrifying, lonely.
Observe the fact that I said almost-total silence. I've gotten a few tidbits here and there. I started reading through Job, and have noticed that there is no record of God talking to Job until pretty far into the book. Presumably, Job suffered devastation, loss, disease, and the remonstrances of his so-called friends without any word of encouragement from the Lord. That makes my little bout of silence sound pretty trifling, doesn't it?
I've also come face-to-face with the hard but strangely freeing realization that God is incomprehensibly big, completely perfect, and that He. owes. me. nothing. I've always said things like that, but now the real truth of it is starting to percolate down from my head to my heart. Somehow, I'd always managed to hold on to the fallacy that I could control God. I never took time to follow my line of thought all the way through or I would have seen how silly it was long ago, but it ran something like this: I want, no, crave, a relationship with God. I don't care so much about all that blessing stuff, it's pretty much icing on the cake. I just want a real, talking, alive relationship, and I'll do whatever it takes to have it. I'll obey, I'll allow God to humble me, I'll follow Him to the ends of the earth - anything that will obligate Him to give me that relationship.
Yes, somewhere in the midst of my passionate search for a relationship, I steered off the course. I got the idea that I could force God into 'owing me one'. What I have to realize now is that God is so big, and so perfect, and so beyond human understanding or concepts of fairness that my only response to Him can be worship. John Milton put it well when he said, 'When we speak of knowing God, it must be understood with reference to man's limited powers of comprehension. God, as He really is, is far beyond man's imagination, let alone his understanding. God has revealed only so much of Himself as our minds can conceive and the weakness of our nature can bear.'
Putting God under an obligation judged by my rules of fairness doesn't work. It seems to have resulted in frustration from me (you should have heard some of my prayers after this quiet spell set in and before the eye-opening process began), and a lot of silence from God. God has the perfect right to do whatever He wants to me, and my only appropriate responses are worship, trust, and obedience. I am not trying to say that I view God as some sort of fickle, detached dictator. He is the ultimate of everything good, and, even more strange and wonderful, He has chosen to relate Himself to my weak humanity with promises, love, and sacrifice. But I can't forget that the promises were self-imposed. I may bank on them, but I can't manipulate God into giving them.
This has also been an excellent opportunity for me to review my relationship with God. How much do I really love Him? Am I truly seeking Him? The answers are, respectively, 'a lot' and 'yes'. Of course, I'm still far from perfect in those areas, but I can honestly say with David, 'I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple.' (Psalm 27: 4) If anything, this time of silence has only sharpened my desire for Him. I have whittled down my wants and petitions to reveal the one passion that is at the root of them all: I want to be with God. Wherever He is, that is where I want to be. 'I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire...'
So, as you can see, this time of silence is good for me. Perhaps these lessons were ones I had to learn the hard way. God definitely seems to have put the sanctification process on fast-forward for a while, and somehow I get the feeling that I'm on the edge of something. Something big. I feel a suppressed excitement, an urge to run forward and leap over the edge into...what?
This silent waiting may be one of the very hardest things I've ever had to face. Doubts come whispering in my ears - 'You're not really in God's will.' 'You're so far away from Him that you can't even hear His voice anymore.' I am beginning to realize why the end of Psalm 27 (verse 14) reads, 'Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.' And why the armor of God passage reads '...Take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist...' etc. (Eph. 6: 13b - 14a) That's a lot of emphasis on standing...not walking, not running, not sitting down, but standing, waiting for the orders to come down from the top.
I still have a lot to learn.