..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

When God is Silent: Silence & Testing-Pt. 2

In the first post I looked at the silence
of God and how His silence can help take us
out of our own perspective and bring us
into His perspective and reality.

In this post I want to explore this idea
further by looking at the idea of how
God's silence tests our hearts and gives us
opportunity to become more like Him.

Any good teacher knows that you should not give
out the answer too quickly. Part of the learning
process is exploring: the seeing of how things
are put together, how things are related, the
cause and effect of things. It is no different
with our inward lives. We have very little
knowledge of what we are like in our deep
inward parts until God shows us.

But what will cause us to ask God to show
us how we are deep within? Often, when
my question or prayer is not answered,
it brings up things in me that
would not be stirred up otherwise. I'm a
great Christian when I get my own way
quickly, and so are you! But delay that
getting just a bit and now we're in a
completely different soup.

When we ask God for something, it may
surely be His will to give it to us, but
we must surely allow Him to give it to us
in His own time. There are times when
God is way ahead of us, giving us things
before we even ask, but there are also
times when what we ask for does not appear
when we had hoped it would.

I love that passage in the book of Daniel
when Meshach, Shadrack and Abednego are
asked to worship idols and are about to
be thrown into the fiery furnace. They
boldly say, "Our God is able to deliver
us, but if not, we will not bow down
to idols" (Daniel 3:17-18 paraphrased).

Can we say this, even in the face of sure
death? How wonderful it is to have the
testimony of being delivered from the flame,
but really, how glorious to not bow down to

Dear ones, God is after that testimony
in our hearts. If you think He will not
test our motives to within an inch of our
lives, or even an inch past our lives, then
you do not know the God of Scripture. He
searches the inmost places of the heart, He
is able to divide the soulish from the
spiritual (Hebrews 4:12). And how relentlessly
good He is in both his motive and technique!

And you thought you were just simply asking for
a new car, or house, or job or whatever!
Meanwhile God is getting ready for you to
do a little deep sea diving with Him into your
depths. Don't try it without Him, you will be
immediately drowned and lost. He must guide
us within, He must set up the experiences
that show us what we need to see. He uses the
simple experiences and needs of life to take us
deeper, to reveal what is in our hearts.

Surely He can give us things without the
lessons attached, but really, what is more
valuable? We see what we want, but He sees
what we need. Now don't go thinking that
every blessing in life comes with a great
and miserable test. Some are just free gifts.
And some are great heavenly gifts that come
in the form of what we do with the silence
of God.

Waiting is just tough stuff for us humans.
More often than not it brings impatience and
irritation. It may cause us to question God's
motives when it should be causing us to see
our own. It may bring about jealousy as we see
others around us getting their answers while
we wait in hope. It may bring about a decision
to stop living a life of trust and try to be
self-sufficient and self-made. Dear God!

Recall all the thoughts and emotions
you may have felt while you were waiting
for an answer to prayer or even just waiting
for the plumber to show up, or the bus to
come. Waiting tests our heart. In the silence
of inactivity that extends from when we begin
to seek for something, and the time we possess
it, our souls reveal themselves.

If we think that God is somehow holding out
on us, or worse yet, trying to be mean, then
we show our need for a heavenly perspective.
God always has our best interests at heart.
He always provides for our needs. But we
can mistake our needs for our wants, or
even make the mistake of valuing earthly
needs above heavenly ones. Humans alone
have the capability of seeing that
delaying certain pleasures (eating a
package of oreos) might help us in
the long run (we might live to the
ripe old age of 90 with a cholesterol
free arteries!).

God knows when to give us what He has
chosen for us. I know that when you
are waiting this truth sounds like a
platitude. It is all part of the
process. Be glad if you see unpleasant
reactions arising as you wait. Well,
at least be glad that you can see that
they are there and then offer them to
God. You don't want to live with all your
fine things and all that garbage stuck
down inside you, do you?

When God is silent, He could be
testing our hearts. Allow that
testing....it will bear much eternal
fruit. The earthly treasures we will
leave behind, but spiritual fruit and
treasures are eternal. Silence can be

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