“God’s silence can be painful. We can experience seasons of silence for different reasons. Sometimes people can’t hear from God because they have never surrendered to Christ’s lordship. We may experience God’s silence because we are harboring unconfessed sin or have rejected a clear calling from God. Yet sometimes none of those apply. God’s silence can also be an invitation to seek him.” (Renewed, Leah Powers, pg 88,89)
I can remember days of sitting on my bed, open Bible on my lap, and the words were vibrating so much, I could barely read them – let alone have them pierce through the darkness of heart and mind. Depression casts a darkness over the Word of God, a filter of death that affects our spiritual health along with the physical and mental. It was difficult to hear God’s voice clearly in those times, though I clung to whatever God got through to me. Mostly, it was just me talking to Him with my ‘help me!’ prayers, but He would use Christian radio and the life-giving connections with other Christians to speak to me. In the spiritual wilderness, there can be either silence or a cacophony of noise — both keep us from listening.
How do we continue to minister to others when going through these seasons of silence? Is it even possible?
I found that when God would lead people to talk to me at church, they would ask questions of me that caused me to reflect on God’s faithfulness and goodness.
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
7 Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
Psalm 137 is raw and honest. How can one sing when so far removed from our homeland? How can one sing when tormented and held captive by enemies? How can one sing songs of joy while weeping for all that has been lost?
Just thinking of this song, brings tears. A song of lament, Matt and Beth Redman wrote Blessed be Your Name shortly after the events of 9/11, 2001. After the loss of our second child in 2004, this song was frequently sung in the churches we attended. I couldn’t sing it for years. If I did manage to get through the first verse and chorus, it certainly wasn’t truthfully. It is a song that requires complete surrender. God gives. God takes. Blessed be the name of the Lord. When writing our daughter’s obituary, I spoke of her passing from our arms into God’s. A small, silent bundle of joy who carried pieces of us into eternity.
The only tie that joins us to her, is Immanuel, ‘God with us’.
The only hope we cling to, is God. He will finish what He begins. He is faithful. Even in the silence. Even in the waiting. He is The Lord, our God.
God will help us to remember who He is and who we are in Him.