I haven’t written much lately. It’s not due to lack of motivation or time, although I’m quick to brush it off as such. After all I’ve got two little kids at home and I’m attempting to start a business. If I brushed writing off, no one would blame me. But it’s not that.
I’m not lacking in ideas. I sense sparks of truth that I want to share all the time. But I write a few sentences or paragraphs and then I get stuck. I have titles but no messages. I don’t know what comes next. It’s not good enough to share. I know it could be so much better if God just gave me the words.
I read my Bible every night. At a minimum, I pray three times a day. I drag myself to church, and as I drive, I pray. I beg the Lord for a message that imparts wisdom and conviction upon my soul. I beg him for direction. I promise Him I’m willing, and I will go where He leads. But I also remind Him that I desperately need His leadership because I don’t have the ability to witness without Him.
When I open my Bible, I sometimes get stuck on a verse. It’s always an old verse that I memorized as a child but had forgotten. And I know there is so much meaning in it. But I can’t seem to gather anything new. Yes, Lord. You’re amazing, Lord. I want to do your will, Lord. Give me guidance.
I pray three times a day. I thank Him. I ask Him to keep us safe. I ask Him to reveal His will. I ask Him for help. And sometimes, praying brings me peace. But most of the time, I find myself fighting an internal battle, desperately wanting to demand an answer from God. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remind me that you’re here and reassure me that I’m on the right track.
I drag myself to church. It’s hard, especially since I’m not a morning person. I don’t want to go. I do it because I want my kids to know it’s important, and I want them to see me living out this example. It’s the same reason I volunteer in my daughter’s Sunday School. I have no conviction to serve there, but I also have no convictions against serving there. And they need people. So I do it. I want my kids to see me worshiping, even as I feel like a fraud.
We travel a lot and I get to visit other churches. I get excited. Maybe it’s just something I’m experiencing at my own church; maybe God wants to use a different pastor to speak to me. I’m open. I’m willing. I’m listening. I struggle to pay attention and take logical notes, which is an important part of processing for me. By the end, I say a prayer that God used the sermon to speak into someone else’s life since it didn’t speak into mine. It’s not the pastor’s fault. The words are true and woven well. But I can’t hear Him.
At times, I find myself angry. The Lord blinded Paul on the road to Damascus and threw Jonah into the belly of the fish to get their attention. I don’t need such a massive gesture. Here I am, screaming, “Use me!” And I feel like He has forgotten me. I feel like perhaps I misunderstood everything he told me at the beginning of 2019 and I need to backtrack. I feel like I am not good enough for Him to utilize.
The last time I felt so lost was December 2011. I had just returned from a six month mission trip in Nepal. It changed everything. I grew more in those six months than I had in the first twenty years of my life. But then I came home, completely different, and everything in the United States was the same. I was prepared to serve. I was prepared to change the trajectory of my life for Him, but I didn’t know how. I knew that God had information I just wasn’t privy to yet. But I didn’t know how to get it out of Him.
I cried a lot of tears. But the pastor that Sunday had the perfect message for me. Both the heart and the brain must be utilized in order to practice faith. Because there will be times when our hearts fail us, and we must focus on what our brain knows in order to worship Him. Likewise, there will be times when our brains cannot comprehend or explain His Glory, and we must rely on the love in our hearts to carry us through.
When God seems silent, it hurts our hearts. We feel abandoned. We feel misguided. We feel inadequate and unimportant. What do you do when God is silent? You do what you know is right. You read your Bible. You pray. You fellowship with others. You trust Him.
Share your feelings of abandonment. Scream at the Silent One if you want. I don’t think He minds.
I had forgotten about this sermon. And then I was reading my devotional today, and it contained the beautiful words of Matthew 4:2-4:
“And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
Forty days and nights without food. He must have been starving. His body must have been weak. A 1997 study published in the British Medical Journal on modern hunger strikes found that the strikes often ended between twenty-one and forty days because of the life-threatening symptoms participants experience. His organs were shutting down. Who knows if He even capable of walking. Jesus was certainly on his last leg.
Yesterday morning, I would have said the same. Not physically, of course! I eat plenty. But spiritually. I know, I know. I sound dramatic. To a person who is physically starving, my life looks beautiful. My life is beautiful. But my soul has been craving the wisdom and direction that only the Lord provides. I’m not a crier, but my eyes teared up as I drove to my daughter’s school. Lord, I just want to hear You.
And then I read that verse last night. Forty days and forty nights. Yet when the wrong food was offered to Jesus, He still denied of it because his brain knew that God would provide at just the right time.
When God is silent, open your Bible. Read on repeat. Pray on repeat. Even if it seems half-hearted and routine. Be as genuine and honest as you can in that moment. Dance and sing and scream and laugh. Or just sit. Appreciate His silence as a time to rest in what you already know about His Majesty. Because when He speaks again, He might throw some big convictions your way.