Two friends of mine and I have recently been discussing communication with God. Ours with Him, yes, but mainly His towards us. His voice. His leading. His direction in our lives. Much like my two friends, I recently went through a very long season (that seemed even longer than long) of feeling strongly that God wasn't speaking to me. That I had become lost in His silence. It was a miserable place, a sad existence to endure. Life wasn't tragic, I continued to be blessed with His provision and even with His grace made evident every day but I felt Him as distant, almost hidden from me. The longer the seemingly silent God was, the more desperate I became to hear His voice again.
DESPERATE is the word that one of my friends and I came up with as the only appropriate one to accurately describe our spiritual/emotional states during this long season. I really never felt as if God wasn't listening to me. I never felt that God didn't care . . . I just wanted to hear Him speak as I so often had in the past. Loud and clear or even in just a whisper. Where was He? Why could I not hear His voice. Was He talking and I just couldn't hear Him for one reason or another . . . or was it that He wasn't speaking at all?
As I've discussed this with my friends, we have decided one thing for sure that we had in common during this long season of silence . . . we struggled to believe that it wasn't our fault. Let me explain. When you can't hear God's voice and feel alone to walk the earth, naturally you might think two things as the possible reasons for the lack of communication:
1. He is speaking but I can't hear Him. 2. He's not speaking.
There are two reasons why each of these could be the case:
1. I have sin in my life that is hindering my reception. 2. It's not time for me to hear whether He's speaking currently or just waiting to speak.
With any of these options that I tumbled around in my mind/heart for months, I became irritated with myself and with God, depending on which thought I had landed on for that day. Part is self condemning and the other, a doubt of my Sustainer. I often decided to go with the self condemnation for the purpose of me being in error instead of my perfect God. The frustrating part was that I was seeking. It wasn't like I had wandered off from God's apparent will and therefore it made sense that I was the one to blame. There was a desire for obedience in my heart and there wasn't some daunting sin in my life that I knew needed to be surrendered. My daily Bible intake was more than ever! I was ready and willing . . .and yet He still left me seeking Him.
There was another annoying part to that long season that is kind of hard to admit to . . . while I couldn't hear a single word from God, it seemed as if everyone around me was proclaiming the presence of His voice and direction in their lives, trampsing around, filled with abundant joy over His workings and the great things He was "calling" them to do! What in the world? Why not me?!!! Can I get a witness here? Can anyone relate? Frustrating. I wanted to be happy for them . . . and really I was. But selfishly . . . I don't know, I felt left out. So I kept seeking.
I look back on that long season (now having entered a season of God SHOUTING at me), as the long season of me seeking the voice of my God with everything I was.
Even upon typing that last sentence I smile . . . isn't He so very precious to want me to seek Him? To long for my attention? He is jealous for me.
It's very hard to feel alone. Whether it's being one in a sea of people or one in an upstairs apartment to yourself. But to know that God is there, not based on His current volume but on the proof of Who He is and His faithfulness throughout time. That is where our faith is made what it's meant to be. Strong. In. The. LORD. He alone deserves my full attention and to He alone should I give it. I do not deny the struggles I faced in the long season of silence now that I have begun to hear again, simply because I could not hear His voice to direct me, but I do acknowledge His ever present help in time of need and His great provision during the unheard.
I do believe He has proven Himself to become silent in our lives when we are enraptured in a sin that keeps us from seeking Him or understanding His Words. No doubt. That's not what this post is about though (Understandably, that could be the topic of another post at a later date). This post represents all those who have been frustrated with a lack of hearing because God simply wanted to bring them through a long season of silence that would cause them to seek Him with everything they have. Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. I really think seeking God with all of these is what brings us to the point of loving Him with all of them too. When you want to hear God speak, and seek His will as if for treasure, you prepare your heart for the coming Word that could change your life forever.
Let me say that again . . .
When you want to hear God speak, and seek His will as if for treasure, you prepare your heart for the coming Word that could change your life forever.
That season sucked. I'm just going to say it. It was miserable because God and my intimacy level was less than what it had been. But then again, the season I'm living in now is blessed because our intimacy is more than it ever would have been. Let me say it this way . . .
I've already lived through winter this year. Spring is hypothetically here and I'm so very thankful.
He was jealous for me. My attention. My allegiance. My love. The abandonment of "me." If any of this comes off as arrogance of any kind, be sure to know that I am aware of the fact that I don't deserve to hear His voice . . . ever. By His grace, the worth that His presence in my life gives, and the fact that He created me in His image, I am blessed to have ears that hear. As Autumn is underway, I consider this season a great privilege and I will count my blessings, naming them one by one, as I remember the season that God brought me through in effort to bring me close to Him :)
It's okay to lament. That's another small part of what my two friends and I have been learning. This fact is Scriptural. Authenticity of emotion is a Biblical practice. Can it be abused? Absolutely. We have a responsibility as believers in Christ to be an example of an eternal hope! With that said, we are real. We are real people and sometimes we have seasons of sorrow that need to be expressed. To each other? Yes, I believe so. It's part of building real community. To God? Absolutely. He can handle you. He wants you to lament when appropriate. He already knew you were going to. Ha! He's ready to listen . . . and when you are ready and in tune with the Spirit of God, prepared for His Words . . . He will speak. He will speak.
Do you need to lament today to Your Savior? Do you need to cry out in desperation for Him?
Do you need to seek out a fellow believer and ask for their support and prayer during a hard time? Yes, it may shock them (especially if you're not naturally the "lamenting type") but do it anyway. Be the body today, whether weak or strong.
Do you know of someone who is in need of a moment of lament? Could you approach them in all humility and ask to be that shoulder they need to cry on? Are they hard and calloused and will make you feel silly for approaching them? Maybe. Do it anyway. Be the body today, whether weak or strong.
Do you need to lament directly to your God in this moment? Get by yourself (If you're not already). I've been there, recently. I know this is hard. It may be uncomfortable at first if you're not used to being that vulnerable with your emotions but do it any way. He created you and all of your emotions. He can handle it. Throw it at Him. Be real. Talk to your Daddy, He's waiting to hold you in your distress. Be weak before Him and He will gladly be all the strength that you need.
Lament. Seek. Find. Love. Listen. Act. Share.
Whether weak or strong, may we be His "body" today.
(Scripture in regards to hearing God speak, lamenting, and many other appropriate messages I needed to read when enduring my Winter season)
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