When God Seems Silent

When God Seems Silent

Recently, my wife and I (and the teams that we do ministry with) prayed with a young lady regarding her sister (we’ll call them Ruth and Sarah).  Ruth’s sister, Sarah, was about to make a life-altering decision (one that would have lasting physical and emotional consequences).  Ruth called us not knowing what to do or how to convince Sarah to not go through with this.  We prayed with Ruth.  We asked if we could talk to Sarah, but she didn’t think that it would be a good idea.  So we called on our teams to begin to pray.  And we all prayed – for 2 days.

– We prayed for God to speak to Sarah about her decision.  We prayed that Ruth would have influence in her sister’s life to talk her out of it.

– We prayed that Sarah and Ruth would be filled with the Holy Spirit and that Sarah would make the right decision.

– We prayed for the Lord’s will regarding this situation (knowing that God would not agree with her decision.)

– We prayed Scripture over this situation and that God would intervene for His glory.

– We prayed blessings over Sarah, Ruth, and all those who would be involved.

– We even prayed for a bus to break down so that these yound ladies couldn’t make it to their destination.

Image credit: designpics / 123RF Stock Photo

Sarah went ahead with her decision.  My wife and I were heart broken.  As was Ruth, the sister.  She (Ruth) also struggled with her faith and with forgiveness (mostly God’s forgiveness towards her for orginally supporting her sister’s decision.)  Why would God not answer this prayer for His glory right then and there?  Wouldn’t God be glorified by intervening and preventing this decision to be made?  (At least that’s what I thought and how I prayed.)  We were sure we were praying in God’s will.

Each person must decide to respond to or reject the Spirit’s working in their life. 

As much as we would like to choose good (and God) for some people, not everyone will respond favorably to the promptings of the Spirit.  Our job as Christians is not to be their Savior, but to point them to the only one who can save.  We also must remember what Jesus said, ““Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16, NIV)

We Don’t know the ultimate outcome of the situation

God is still God, even though the outcome of this particular situation was not how we had been praying.  As we were grieving, the words of one of Delirious’s songs came to mind

40 million babies lost to God’s great orphanage,
It’s a modern day genocide and a modern day disgrace
If this is a human right then why aren’t we free?
The only freedom we have is in a man nailed to a tree.100 million faces, staring at the sky,
Wondering if this HIV will ever pass us by.
The devil stole the rain and hope trickles down the plug,
But still my Chinese take away could pay for someone’s drugs.
Our God reigns, Our God reigns,
Forever your kingdom reigns.
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/d/delirious/our_god_reigns.html ]

God still reigns even when God seems silent.  Who know what will happen with this young lady in the future.  Meanwhile, our job is to continue to support both young ladies and show them the love and mercy of Jesus.

God still deserves our praise

Just because God seems silent or does not answer us in the way we expect, He is still worthy of all of our praise.  It doesn’t mean we can’t grieve for someone.  It doesn’t mean that we will understand everything that God does.  God asks us to obey Him always, not understand Him in everything.  There will be things we face that we can never understand.  Our response to God is a trusting worship, one that is anchored in hope.

– Hope that God will ultimately use this situation for His glory.

– Thankfulness that one heart did turn towards God.

– Praise that God forgives, and that if this young lady decides to choose forgiveness, He will be waiting with open arms.

When God seems silent, choose hope.  Choose to believe.  Choose to worship Him.  After all, He first chose us:

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you… (1 Thessalonians 1:4)

The Church: Sent

When God moved us out of full-time vocational ministry and into a high school, I had no idea how messy some aspects of our ministry would be.  Our first year we focused on building relationships in the community and adjusting to a new job.  We got involved with a local apartment community and helped with a local back-to-school outreach and Christmas outreach.

Now, three years later, our most recent endeavor, though, has put us into closer contact with the people we’re trying to serve.  And it’s gotten messy…really messy.  We are dealing with people who have great need and little support.

– Single moms raising multiple children and cars that need constant repairs. Those same single moms are working, going to school to try to improve their lives (and the lives of their children), and are spread so thin that they have no time for themselves.

– Children running around their apartment complex with little supervision and little direction for their lives.  Fathers are absent from much of this community.

– People struggling with addictions and life-altering decisions (and those that love them trying to guide them to the right path.  Sometimes it works; sometimes it does not.)

And much, much more that I’m sure we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.  But one thing I know and am convinced of…

Our presence is needed.  Because our desire is, no matter what the circumstance, to point them to Jesus.  Only He can save.  Only He can restore.  Only He can heal.  We cannot save them.  But we can be there to point them to the only one who can.

If we’re not there, will God call someone else to go? I’m sure he would.  But what happens to all these people in the meantime?  If God calls us to share His love, His grace, and His mercy, then what are we waiting for?

There are people in your neighborhood, probably even on your block, that need the same thing that these people need:  for someone to show them God’s love.  They need to see God’s mercy and forgiveness extended to them in tangible ways.  There are people all around us who are hurting and searching for the truth.  God wants you to point them to Christ and show them mercy.

Romans 10:14 says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

We are called to be those “preachers” to those around us.  Not to preach at them, but to live the gospel and proclaim the gospel in a way that draws them to Jesus.

Not sure how?  Here’s a great blog post from The Verge Network with some ideas  10 Simple Ways to be Missional.  Then, get out there and start preaching!