Keeping Silent

I talk to a dear friend of mine a couple of times a week while she drives home. Short but sweet is the best way to describe these chats. We have just enough time for a story or two, perhaps a joke only the other person would find funny, and then the service cuts in and out and we both know it’s time to go.

The other night I was telling her a story that I thought was quite comical. It was about nothing important- just my unfortunate attempt to hang a picture, that was almost as tall as me, on the wall by myself. In prime story telling fashion, I did a marvelous job of setting the scene, right down to what time it was. My inflection was spot on and I was quickly approaching the punch line. I began to notice that, as I approached the climax of this thrilling adventure, I had not heard a peep out of her. Not a mumble, nor a chuckle. Normally I get at least a pity laugh! So what did I do? I kept on talking of course. I elaborated a bit further and eventually slid right through the punch line and into a nonchalant, “So anyways. The picture is a foot and a half off center now.”

Silence.

Then the all-to-familiar, “beep, beep, beep” signifying the call was dropped. Somewhat relieved that my story may still have a chance at being funny, I reluctantly put the phone down and stared at the off center picture, precariously hung on the wall in front of me.

***

Temptation in the silence is to assume that nothing is being done. In the way we fill the air of conversation with unnecessary banter, so we often are tempted to assume that the silence between us and God also needs filling.

God tells us to, “Ask according to His will and it will be done.” Thank goodness it is to His will and not my own and shame on me for assuming instantaneous results. The will of God includes more than the end result of my tunnel vision prayer.

“Oh Lord, provide for me.”

He’ll provide. He’ll also train you up in absolute, unquestioning faith in his personal character of provision. He’ll take the opportunity to teach stillness and the one responsibility that is ours, which is simply to come.

Do you know that you cannot ‘will’ your prayers to be answered and still remain in God’s will? Unless the will of your soul is perfectly conjoined with His, there will come a point where only His love, power, and mercy can bring such things to total completion. So the question becomes, “What do I do then once i’ve surrendered?” Odds are you need to go on and surrender again. It is a constant coming back to the cross. Like a wayward sheep, you must constantly be in the practice of shepherding your soul back home to surrender.

In your surrender, step back and take the blinders off your prayers to see the many facets of, “His will be done on earth as in Heaven.” The blessing and deliverance in provision is also the training ground of faith, the discipline of human reason, and the nurturing of a Holy relationship. You can’t miss this and the Holy Spirit is sure to convict you of these purposes.

So, when human reason concludes the impossible, discipline yourself to un-accept this conclusion and look for a conclusion made by God, which, in this case, reasons that truly nothing is impossible for Him. The work to be done then is not in the materializing of an answer to prayer but it is in practicing obedience to the One who is bringing it into completion.

Take every doubt captive with truth. Allow wisdom to keep you sober and the love of Christ keep you faithful. Fight against unbelief for that is truly the only work Christ has equipped us to do in the silence.

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust-there may yet be hope…For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”
Lamentations 3:25-33

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