Ah, the end of another year approaches. A time for reflection, a time for looking ahead. It is high time that I share some reflections with you.
If I had to give the past year a name, then 2014 would be the “Year of Silence.” In about December of last year, it seemed like God stopped communicating with me in the ways He had my whole life. It was like when you are close to someone–a friend or sibling, for instance–and you have a certain way of communicating that is unique to the pair of you. If the other person suddenly changed, if they no longer laughed aloud to inside jokes or stopped using their typical way of contacting you (i.e. if they knew you could be most speedily contacted by text but started sending emails), you’d notice.
It’s been kind of like that. In other words, it seemed like God went radio silent, and that silence has continued all year.
I did everything you’re “supposed” to do when you suddenly feel distant from God. No recognizable response came.
Honestly, a lot of the time I’ve been pretty frustrated. I mean, I graduated from college in the spring and had/have no idea what came/comes next, or any idea what it means to live with God outside of school. My whole world has changed; if there was one time in my life thus far in which I think I’ve needed clear guidance from the Lord, this is it.
But a phrase keeps coming to mind that I heard someone say: “Silence is a perfectly legitimate Fatherly response.” He was talking about his granddaughter, who, when he did not say anything but just watched her happily, kept switching activities–dancing, singing, drawing, etc.–until finally she turned to him and begged, “Say something, Grandpa!”
And it’s true! The Father does not have to speak whenever I want Him to. He is perfectly justified in His silence.
Now that I’m getting more accustomed to, though by no means satisfied with, this silence, I’m starting to notice some things. It feels like this is my personal 400 years of silence between the prophets and Jesus’ coming, meant to increase my devotion to Him. Will I seek Him even if the feelings are gone? Without my realizing it, this question has been answered with a resounding, “Yes–and I’ll seek Him even more,” because in His silence, I feel my need for Him so much more, in an insatiable desperation.
Just because He’s not speaking in a way I readily recognize does not mean He’s abandoned me, nor does it mean I even need that “hearing,” pleasant as it may be. God has already said everything I need to know about Him, myself, and life. I’m developing a whole new appreciation for the Bible, and parts of the Bible I’ve never thought interesting I now see as deeply exciting. I’m gaining a deeper knowledge of who God is, apart from my experiences of Him–and He is more awe-inspiring, more beautiful, more powerful and wonderful, than anything I could imagine.
Lacking guidance and clarity for the future, I’ve been forced to live in the present and to hold my dreams for the future loosely. It seems like God is telling me that I don’t need to know His complete plan for my life right now, I just need to know who He is.
I’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s encouraging to raise a metaphorical memorial stone, an “Ebenezer,” and say, “Thus far the Lord has brought me.” I hope this encourages you, too.
And now, for an update on Dressember. For more information about just what Dressember is, read this earlier post. I’m excited to say that, as of today, Dressember participants have raised over $170K for International Justice Mission (IJM), a global organization that works to rescue and rehabilitate people caught in modern-day slavery, provide justice for their abusers, and prevent future abuse by working with local governments and justice systems. If you would like to support IJM’s work, donate here: https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraise?fcid=354197
Donate to IJM here: https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraise?fcid=354197