Preface to this post:
I don’t really have a “process” for writing this blog. I just sit down the night before, write what is on my mind, and then publish it at 12:01 AM. I’m not one of those efficient bloggers who sits down on a Sunday night and gets organized for the week... as Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, “I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl.”
Except this one time a little over a month ago. It was July 7th, and I was reading through comments for a post I had written. One of the comments asked what they should do when God was silent, when they couldn’t hear Him, when it seemed like He had checked out. It was from a friend of mine and I sat down right then and wrote out a whole blog post on the subject and then emailed it to her. I didn’t want to wait because I felt like she needed an answer and I didn’t want to leave her hanging.
So this one time, I happened to have a post ready early and didn’t need it for the next day. Thinking I was all “on the ball” for once, I scheduled it ahead for the following Wednesday.
And then I patted myself on the back for being all efficient.
And then two days later my dad died.
And then that next Wednesday, the day of his funeral, I woke up to this random blog post that I barely remembered writing published on my blog.
And then I had a total meltdown.
Reasonable or not, I felt like I had totally dishonored Dad. I sobbed in bed as I looked at this ridiculous post about God being silent on a day when He was anything but. On a day that I wanted to be solely about my amazing Dad and his honorable life. It broke my heart. I know, not logical, but true nonetheless.
But it’s still a good message and I didn’t want it to go to waste. Alece pulled it for me that day, and I’m hoping today is a day where maybe one of you needs to read these words.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the more you search for something, the further away it gets?
Sometimes, with the best of intentions, we go to God looking for answers... for direction... for guidance... and we get...
We get silence. We can be quiet. We can listen. We can be silent while screaming inside at the top of our lungs, “WHERE ARE YOU?!?!?!”
We’ve done all we are supposed to do. We followed all the rules and done our praying and sat in our silence and yet we get... nothing. We can’t find Him.
For me, the answer is to stop looking. And start acknowledging.
I think we get in our minds that God has gone somewhere. That He has fallen silent and we need to search for Him and find Him. But really, I don’t think either of those things are usually true. We are just waiting for Him on our terms instead of His. We want the control. We want answers, direction, resolution. We want the warm and fuzzy feeling that we think faith should provide us.
We believe, and we think that if we follow the rules of praying that we will then get the answers in our time and in our way. We want to know what He knows, and we wait to hear the definitive word so we can step forward in His good grace. And when He is silent, we think we’ve missed something. And we once again think we need to find Him.
Do you notice the control theme in there?
We want. We look. We expect.
A few years ago I had one of those “Aha” moments when I was driving home from a bad doctor appointment. One where I was once again told bad news. I once again had pneumonia. I was once again going into the hospital. I was once again getting worse. I was so tired of the constant barrage of illness, of feeling so alone, of seeing nothing good down the long and narrow road that was my future. I was tired and crying and in the middle of it all my eyes were taking in the warm sun and the green grass when my thoughts went to, “My God, you made the most beautiful day.”
And then I thought I had gone crazy.
How could I be so sad and alone... feeling He was nowhere near me and silent... and have that one thought turn me on a dime.
And it was then I realized:
I don’t need to find God. I just need to acknowledge Him.
I thought He was silent because He wasn’t giving me the answers I was looking for. He wasn’t speaking to what I wanted Him to speak to. I was putting in my quarters and He wasn’t being the vending machine I had come to expect Him to be. I knew what I needed and what I wanted and He wasn’t providing.
He wasn’t under my control.
But He hadn’t gone anywhere. I was the one who had moved. I moved from a place of being a servant to a place of wanting Him to serve me on my time and in my way. In that moment I stopped trying to find Him... find the creator of the Universe who I thought had somehow disappeared, because he was EVERYWHERE. I was just looking for what I wanted instead of what He was offering.
I stopped looking for Him and started acknowledging Him.
I stopped waiting for my answers and started walking forward in faith. Instead of waiting for Him to give me what I needed ahead of time, I started trusting that He would give me what I needed when I needed it.
I didn’t pack my bag before the trip... I started walking down the road and trusted that He would provide as I went along. I just needed to keep acknowledging Him along the path.
I acknowledged that He didn’t have to speak to be heard. I needed to start listening with something other than my ears. I needed to let go of the idea that walking in step with God meant that I would always feel good and content in my decisions. That I would hear what needed to be done before I took the first step to make it happen.
I acknowledged that walking in faith is hard and scary, and that’s ok.
Because hard and scary is His specialty.
I just have to trust Him.