When God Is Silent

The Silence of God

It is one of the harder things to experience, having to wait on God when He is silent. I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately, the silence of God. In those silent seasons we often face doubts and confusion, mixed with plenty of questions. Did I do something wrong? Have I sinned? Did I hear God wrong the last time?

There are seasons when my these questions keep popping up in my inbox. I am comforted by this, for clearly I am not the only one experiencing those silent seasons. At the same time, my heart hurts with these people, wearied down by questions and unanswered prayers. Why is God silent? What can I do to make Him speak to me again?

Though I have thought about this lately, I have no answers to these questions. Yet I have started thinking, have started to understand — that maybe what I need is not answers. Maybe what I need, is a change of perspective.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

It seems like life truly happens in seasons, just like the preacher in Ecclesiastes put so beautifully. It also seems like every fall, I am aware of how life thrums on inevitably in seasons, one season blending into the next and suddenly, you realize you are in the midst of a new season. This change and the realization of it, can come with joy — or with great sorrow. Just as painful are the relentless seasons that seem to go on. What is true of seasons, though, is that they will eventually end and a new one will come.

It is our human nature, that always craves for more. I see it in my own life, in my own heart. I also see it in the lives of others. God performs a miracle, with a beautiful answer to those prayers that have worn our knees and wrenched our hearts dry of tears. Yet, a season later, be it months or years — we ask for more. When we are again in the season of waiting on God, it seems to break our hearts. Murmuring echoes loud in the hollows of our heart, with grief unexplainable.

How often we pray for something, for a miracle even. We endure the long seasons of heartbreak, as we wait on God. We know God is teaching us patience; yet we feel weary down to the bone. Then, the answer comes. The miracle comes — and we are surprised by joy. We fall on our knees, thanking God and praising Him — until one day, we do not anymore.

It seems like the praise and thanksgiving, like everything else, tend to come in seasons in our lives.

“A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:3-4)

As I am in a season of learning to change my perspective, I see that this is something that I can, maybe, view differently. What if the silence of God is not something to break our hearts over? What if the silence of God — is actually a beautiful thing, this season of growth that happens secretly, naturally, miraculously in our hearts.

Oswald Chambers wrote about this in the most beautiful way: “Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? You will find that God has trusted you in the most intimate way possible, with an absolute silence, not of despair, but of pleasure, because He saw that you could stand a bigger revelation.”

What if the silence of God — is not a deafening silence, the type that comes and destroys? What if this silence, is there with the purpose of creating something new, something beautiful?

“A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that the contagion of His stillness gets into you and you become perfectly confident — “I know God has heard me.” His silence is the proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of silence.” (Oswald Chambers)

Knowing myself, I think there will be confusion, possibly even doubt, the next time God falls silent. But then, I will choose to see it as the beginning of something great. It will be the beginning of God creating something greater in me.

Linking up: #UNITE Link Up#MomentsofHope Link-UpModest Monday

A Change Of Perspective

A Change Of Perspective

The other day, a sweet little girl sat in my office with me. She continued to amaze me with her bravery. Her hands shaky with nervousness, she sat there and focused hard on the language tests we were doing. She chatted along happily, not letting her fear and anxiety make her miss this moment of connecting with another human being. To be honest, I so wish I could do the same.

There was this moment, though, that stopped me in my tracks. I have not been able to stop thinking about this moment. I had reached over to point something out to her. She looked up from her task and noticed the paper where I was marking her performance. Right then, her face lit up as she looked at me and said, “Look how many points I have!”

You see, I feel like I am often in that position. It feels like my performance is measured, put down on a scale of standards. I get nervous, and often anxiety starts to build up. I start to wonder if I am reaching the standard. Whether I am performing as I should be or falling behind. I wonder how many points I should be getting more to reach the standard of great. When I see an area that needs more work, I declare myself a failure.

What I forget, is that really — I do not need to be performing at the level of great in all areas in life. So I see that I need a change of perspective, and I think I am not the only one. We need that change of perspective — instead of reaching a standard of great, we want to reach for a standard of grace.

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6)

I keep reminding myself of this: that growing is a part of life. Sometimes, it can be harder to notice this. The fall and winter seasons in our lives, we easily forget to note as parts of the growing cycle. Sometimes, some parts need to die, to be left behind for new things to grow. All of this is a work begun by God. And God is a worker who always completes, always finishes what He has started. There will be a day when we finally arrive. Oh, what a glorious day that will be. But until then? We get to rest in grace, knowing that God is the one to complete even this.

This fall has been a season of growing for me. This has been a season of growing in skills, in knowledge, in abilities — all at the same time as I have stepped into the world of speech therapy. The great thing about being an intern, is getting to learn within safe boundaries while stepping into a world of responsibilities and challenges. And I know, that growing comes with growing pains. But though there may be growing pains, there is grace to cover it all.

Linking up: Grace at Home#HeartEncouragementTune In Thursday

What I Have Learned From Leading a Bible Study

What I learned from leading a Bible study

This Friday, our girls’ Bible study will start up again. This is the second time that I am leading a Bible study. I still have a lot to learn, a lot to grow in, many ways to challenge myself. In all honesty, this is a (very) small group of girls. Yet I treasure these times. I grow so much during these times, even though I am a more mature believer in our group. This time we are studying through the book of Philippians, and I am sure there will be many questions. I don’t know if I will have answers. But I do know that in the previous times, God has equipped me with the right words and wisdom.

Maybe you have found yourself in the same position as I did in the spring. You are starting a new Bible study, leading the study through a book you maybe haven’t even studied through yourself before. So what do you need to know? What should you prepare yourself for?

Know why you are leading a Bible study

Honestly? Just wanting to lead a Bible study is not enough. Thinking that you have a lot to teach to others is not the best reason either.

I have been praying for what the Lord has for the girls and for me in this Bible study this fall. I keep thinking about these words from Oswald Chambers: “God does not make us holy in the sense of character; He makes us holy in the sense of innocence, and we have to turn that innocence into holy character by a series of moral choices.”

We study God’s Word because we need the Truth in our lives. We need to know what is good and right. But knowledge is not enough. We have to make the choice to apply these things into our lives constantly. We have to be intentional about the choices we make, and that they are right and good ones. It will not be easy. We will fail. You will fail. And that’s okay. What I forget sometimes, is that the fields of my heart are like walking on a holy ground. This is a heart molded and formed by God, the Almighty, All-Powerful God. Every choice, from the least of them, makes up more than what we can in that moment imagine.

We should do a heart check before we start leading a Bible study. We also need to do a heart check before every meeting. How is your heart today? What is your attitude towards God, towards His Word, towards the people in your study?

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans‬ ‭12:2)

Make sure that you step up to this position because God has put the calling on your heart. Not because someone else suggests that you should lead a study. Not because you think you can do it. A good Bible study gets its beginning always from God.

Put effort into building a sense of community within the group

Ice breakers are often needed for this, to get to the point where everyone is willing to share about their lives and their hearts. I found it good to take a time for introductions within the group. There were easy questions and difficult ones. I asked about likes, preferences, hardships, struggles, and joys.

Be ready to be the first one to share. Let it be a natural conversation. So yes, think about questions you want to ask. But do not think what you will answer yourself. Let it come in the moment, just like it does for the rest of your group.

Be ready to welcome questions

This spring and over the summer, we studied through the book of Ruth. Understandably, there were questions about relationships, dating, and marriage. (Even ones I challenged the girls to think about.) There were nights when we went through the chapter we had been studying for that time very quickly, yet there were many questions relating to topics we had discussed about. Important questions; ones that had been taking up space in the corner of someone’s mind. Thankfully, God guided me to the right Scriptures to give some answers to these questions. But they would not happen if there was no space for questions.

Along the same lines, be ready to welcome conversation on topics outside the topics of the day’s Bible study. Yes, allow them. But also be sure to be quick to confess when you don’t know the answer to something. You can always answer questions the next time you meet.

Be ready to be flexible with your schedule

It is easy to think that you can schedule a Bible study every week or every two weeks at the same time. But this will not happen. Something will come up, more often than not. (Once there was a terrorist attack in our city and so we had to move the meeting to the next week!) So be flexible with your time — from changing the Bible study times to communicating back and forth with your people. It is not always easy or nice, I know. But that’s life.

These are a few things I have learned about leading a Bible study. Have you ever led a Bible study? What did you learn? Let me know in the comments below!

Linking up: Modest MondayGlimpses Link Up#MomentsofHope Link-Up

Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore

Get Out of That Pit

Get Out of That Pit reflects on Psalm 40:1-3. In the book, Beth Moore reflects on her heart-rending journeys to the pit but also what God has done since. He has given her a new song and freedom found in Christ. As she shares this with the reader, the same promises are given to the reader.

As always with Beth Moore’s books, this book is easy to read because of the conversational style. I do not agree with all the points she makes, as I never do. So I recommend keeping the Scriptures in mind and seeking them out for yourself. To be honest, there were no revelations here in this book for me. But this book had me thinking about the pits in my life and reflecting on those pits. It seems like I often need the reminder of needing to forgive. I also need the reminder to move on. This book did both of those. Beth Moore had me thinking on a lot of these things, on how we fall into different pits and trials in our lives and what we must do to get out of those.

Read more of my book reviews here. See also my book recommendations.

I received this book free from the publisher through The BookLook Bloggers book review program. As always, the opinions I have expressed are my own.