O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.
I know exactly what this means. I know how it feels to beg God to not be silent. I know what it feels like to be desperate to feel God move.
And during that time of silence and stillness, what I learned was this:
It is easy to have faith in God's plan when you feel his confirmation and control. It is possible to step onto unknown paths when God has reassured you that he has gone before you. Facing the opposition is worth it when you feel God strengthening you.
It is not so easy when God chooses to grow your faith by being quiet. I learned that it is a sneaky desperation that comes when you can't get your prayers to go past the ceiling. Day after day. Fear after fear. It is almost as if you could say "amen" and then just reach out and pluck your prayer from the air in front of you because it didn't go anywhere.
In our normal, everyday world we like to look at a struggle or situation and congratulate ourselves for having all that faith that pulled us through, but sometimes I think we mistake assurance for faith.
I now know I have.
We believe that faith is feeling God move and following, or is it hearing God's voice and obeying. But that is not the case. In those cases we have been assured of God's presence in some way.
Faith is NOT feeling God move, but trusting Him to go before you anyway.
Faith is NOT hearing God's voice, but trusting Him to be who he says he is anyway.
Faith is praying even when you feel like God is busy somewhere else, but praying with the FAITH that he is the God who hears.
In the silence it makes no sense.
"Why must you be silent?" we tend to cry.
"Don't you care that I am scared?" we half accuse.
It is easy to think, in the middle of the silence, that God has abandoned us, even when we know better.
And we do know better.
But we let fear and doubt take hold.
We feel as if God has forsaken us.
for·sake: To give up, renounce; to leave altogether; abandon
Now, we know how God feels about that. When we start to feel forsaken it is because we are still trying to live on assurances, not faith.
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
So, if you are struggling with the silence of God, see it as the growing of your faith. No assurances. No confirmation. Just you trusting God to be who he says he is.
Is it easy? NO! Is is quick? Not nearly quick enough Is it worth it? YES!
From cover to cover, God reveals himself in scripture. Hold on to it like you never have before, pray those prayers that seem to hover in mid-air, and know that God is growing your faith in him.
Even when he won't tell you so.