When God is silent, do not frantically search for answers. Only continue your regular time in His Word and know the Spirit is in the process of helping you understand what God is doing in your life.
One of my favorite interactions with Jesus is that of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. I love the idea that Jesus, knowing He is going to raise Lazarus, still waits and weeps with Mary and Martha. What enormous compassion! He did not need to weep with them. He knew he was going to resurrect Lazarus in just moments.
But something else strikes me today. Remember when He waited to go until after Lazarus had been dead for 4 days already? He shows up and Martha says, “Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32) Here is something to think about: I think Jesus could have said, “You’re right! If I had come when you asked, your brother would not have died.”
She knew Jesus would heal him. After all, she had see him heal time and time again. It is as though he was saying, “You would not have come to know me more and deeper than you are about to know me. You would not have been prepared for an even greater revelation of me than you had already known.”
God’s silence in our lives means He is prepared to bring into your life an even greater revelation of Himself than you have ever known. When God is silent, start watching for what he is about to teach you about Himself. This will require faith, trust, and anticipation.
I just miss it for lack of attention. When I pray with some intentionality, I should immediately anticipate God’s answer (whatever it might be). Most often, though, I pray and immediately forget about what I was praying about. I forget to then look for how God may be answering that prayer. I ignore and miss all the unusual things about my day. I see them as menial or distracting, and fail to connect them with the activity of an omnipresent, sovereign, omniscient God I had JUST spoken with.
When I pray I need to immediately begin watching and listening to what happens next. Be prepared to make adjustments to MY plan. The thought that God is not going to answer my prayer should never cross my mind.
God actively answers, I just rarely stick around to notice.
How often I’ve asked and heard this question asked? In its various forms, the question is our heart’s scream to know what or what more God wants from us?
More and more, I believe the answer comes down to one thing.
Jesus replies, “Love the LORD your God with all of your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
As I am daily ambushed by God’s outrageous love for me, I am more and more convinced that seeking God’s will for my life is the wrong search. But I should search for His will in my life, and His will is the same as it has always been.
He wants you to love Him with all that you are. Your experiencing God depends on you having a sincere and real relationship of love. I am more and more convinced that this is more important than any.thing.else in your life.
Every decision, big or small, everything in your Christian life, everything about knowing God and knowing His will is fully dependent on the intimacy of your love relationship with God.
If this lynchpin is not in place, nothing…nothing in your life will be right.
I remember praying the words of Switchfoot from the very sincere depths of his heart,
“Let me know that you hear me.
Let me know your touch
Let me know that you love me.
Let that be enough.”*
I listened to the song and prayed it sincerely almost 5 times on repeat from my home to the church. I sat in the parking lot, BEFORE church already preparing my heart in honesty with a basic cry, “God, please let me know that you hear me. I don’t ask you to solve my problems, my anxieties or my fears. I merely pray that you let me know that you hear me.”
There are times we thirst for and grow parch for lack of God’s presence.
I remember worshiping and singing to a God I knew loved me, but whom I had needed to just BE with. I remember standing to worship again and choosing to only mouth the words and let them really speak and scream from my heart,
“You’re all I want…
You’re all I need…”
* Let That Be Enough by Switchfoot
Soul, I will address you as the Psalmists do. Oh my soul within me, why do you continue to focus on the discouragement, shame, and self-defeat? Why do you not focus on Jesus and the rest he gives to you? (Matthew 11:28-29) Why do you believe the lies of the Imposter within you? Listen to the truth of Jesus’ words, come to Him, and he will give you rest.
In Jesus, you find your rest. In Jesus, you find rescue and refuge from your troubles. In Jesus, you will find rest you crave and desire. Oh heart within me, you are under the weight of defeat, and you need rest. Only in Jesus will you find rest from self-defeat, hopelessness, and shame. Listen up, soul! You need rest! Only when you are focused on Jesus will you not be be focused on the destructive lies and inner-dialogue.
Oh my soul, come to Jesus this morning [and tomorrow....and the next day], and you WILL find rest.
The phone call still resonates in my head sometimes. My football coach called me the day after the first day of practice for the season. He was calling because I had not showed up for the first day. I was a senior, and I had played for this man for 3 years already. I made a decision to quit my senior year and not play football any longer. I had not told him this; I just chose not to show up to practice.
That action was what made it clear to my coach that I did not really want to play football. The ones who really wanted to play showed up for practice.
How many times have I prayed short snapshot prayers to tell God, “I want to grow spiritually. I want you to use me in ministry. I want to know you more and see you do crazy things in my life, my family, and my ministry.” Yet how many times has God responded with the words of Jeremiah 29:13. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.“
If I say I want to grow and yet seldom show up for the practice of serious prayer, I am kidding myself. God cannot teach me to pray and speak to my heart and guide me toward growth if I refuse to show up for practice.
We learn to pray by praying and showing up.
The gospel is lavished and laced with LOVE. If you know the gospel, you know you are loved. If you spread the gospel to others, you spread love. Oh how I long to love. I really wish I loved better…loved more.
It really is hard to love everyone. “Loving your enemy” is and will always be a difficult task, but why are we so quick to run from that challenging call? I am beginning to think it is not that the Church is “no good” at it as much as I would say Christians have been conditioned to not even try. Christians have walked further and further away from the challenge to love OUR dark side of life, and we do it by HIDING. By pretending.
For too long, we have believed and maintained hope by pretending that things are not as bad as they are. We have reduced the church down to a Sunday morning event rather than an EVERYDAY community. We are content to put band-aids on every Sunday, go to ‘church’, and walk away with gaping wounds nobody is willing to believe actually exist.
Church is no longer an everyday community where we honestly face evil happing in our CHURCH every day; issues like abuse, marital rocks, terminal sickness, cyber-adultery, depression, flat-lining-self-esteem, doubt…sin! We are more and more reluctant to face the issues of everyday, and we leave ‘church’ to be a Sunday morning EVENT! We have to realize that there IS evil in our church…OUR CHURCH COMMUNITY…everyday community.
If we don’t, we will watch the gospel remain a sermon that is a part of the Sunday morning event. There IS hurt, evil, and sin in our church community…in our world. We have to realize that our relationship with Christ is not intended to COVER UP the dark side of life, but rather to illuminate a path THROUGH IT! [Tweet that] We have to realize we are called as the church to be the hands and feet to love and stand before the pain. To take on the dark side of life instead of pretending it is not there. We cannot be afraid of the pain. We cannot hide from the sin, hurt and evil in our church.
We WILL be bloodied by the contact, yes! But we will be the community we are intended to be, the community which goes beyond being pumped with spiritual adrenaline on Sunday morning. Sunday morning is a congregation, but the church is an EVERYDAY COMMUNITY!!
Some of the best thoughts come through struggle. God honors our struggle and despises our tepid, lukewarm droning. We are not preschoolers who walk straight lines attached to a rope. God honors the honest struggler. There are too many Christians trying to find life through soothing their soul, but true passion is brought forth in honest struggle. Our wrestling match with God is pregnant with passion and confidence.
Because God will ENFOLD AN HONEST STRUGGLER IN LOVING ARMS. The good news is that hatred of God and others decreases as Christ takes the heart inch by inch, but it comes only through honest and passionate struggle with God. We may be a new creation, but we are not a perfect creation. The war over hatred and sin may be won ultimately, but the battle to replace hatred with love will be over only when we see Jesus in flesh. We can and will be angry with God, but have to be honest without reserve. We must understand the Holy Spirit will not allow a bottomless cup of anger to exist, and most often the heart will be engulfed in love when we are honest with God.
You are successful, PC. No matter what anyone else says or expects of you, if you will remain obedient, faithful, and passionate, you are and will be successful.
Trust this, PC. Trust it and allow your aching heart to be affected by what I am saying to you.
I have given you this word:
You are my son. I am very pleased with you. You have been obedient and faithful through your ache and dryness. PC, you are successful and I have wired you for this success.
I DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS, PC. No one and nothing else defines your success. If you remain obedient to the things I have wired you for!
I love you, PC. I have never left you. I have never been far off from you. In fact, your aching heart has been so much closer to me than you even realized.
We will be lovers once more. I have your heart. I always have. Even when it aches, it has always been mine. I am proud of you, and you are successful, son.