It is said that one of the most striking phenomenon of outer space is silence - an almost unbearable SILENCE... of all the limitless expanse of space, with an endless array of galaxies and other elements being created and form, always moving at unimaginable speed - with all of this, there is just - silence! Without an atmosphere to conduct what humans call "sound" - it is just silence. Often I have gazed up at a silent sky on a clear night, and could hear my own heart beat - even with some minimal background sounds. It can be very moving, even to tears in praise and worship of almighty God. At the same time it was a little frightening , realizing as the Apostle Paul told the Athenians, that at that very moment, and every moment we all "live and move and have our being " in Him (Acts 17:22-28). Every breath, every movement, every heartbeat is His gift of grace for me, and for all. It was a kind of silence I could literally "feel"! Such awesome strength and power manifested in such overwhelming silence!
The unspeakable "sound of silence"...
So, it seems that God is a God of silence. And it is true of course, that many things that God does is in silence. At least it seems so to us. But His word is filled also with manifestations and instances in which His equally awesome and almost unbearable voice is like thunder and waves roaring and the mountains shaking to their foundation with the sound! Man often equates power and strength with sounds, and noise. Man likes to emphasize his power and authority with loud commands, sounds of forcefulness. He equates sound with activity and creativity, and communication. Silence can be very unnerving in our world.
Therefore, it is often difficult for us to understand the meaning of silence - or if there is a meaning to it. Silence becomes rather neutral. However, there is a silence that can be more alarming, frightening, and disturbing than any of the above...
The silence of God, when it is directed toward us!
Most understand that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent (Ecclesiastes 3:7). But we often consider this to be confined only to the human realm, and must not apply to an almighty God. However, when Jesus was standing before Pilate, there was a time for Him to speak and for Him to "answer him not a word" (Matthew 27:11-14). But when it comes to our relationship with our Lord and God, it just seems out of character for Him. These can be times when God seems "far away", and we feel very low, and left all alone. There may seem to be no vision, no response, no discernable answer to the need of our heart, or an answer to our prayers. At a time like this, it is wise to ask "who moved?" and then ask Jesus openly and humbly "was it me"? ...
The answer to God’s silence, especially to His seeming lack of response to our prayers, may indeed be us. Anytime is always the right time to examine ourselves. After a thorough, honest and open-before-Him self examination on your part (perhaps you have "moved"), and any repentance required, you still may need to just WAIT.- "wait on the Lord", and be patient. Waiting is not a popular activity in our world today. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to wait for anything.
However, there may be, and often is I believe, another reason for God’s "silence" - a simpler, less threatening, but in a way no less disturbing reason. But it is an exceedingly more loving and wise reason on God's part! This reason is revealed by Jesus to the Apostle Paul. The setting and the occasion was different (perhaps) than yours, but it covers and answers what can be a bewildering mystery to face as Christians in our daily lives.
Notice: "Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:8-9) Here we see that there was SILENCE three times before Jesus answered. Why? Jesus told him why. It was because His ‘GRACE WAS SUFFICIENT" for him! Jesus intended for Paul to live out his own statement in 1Corinthian 10:13. His grace would enable him to bear it.
The grace of Jesus was the reason for His silence!
Do you feel that God is giving you the silent treatment - that when you pray, and when you feel you REALLY need His answer that you hear nothing but the sound of His silence? Listen - His silence may be speaking volumes to you. He is loving you and trusting you with His grace. Whatever He has given you or done for you until now, is "sufficient for you" - right now. Trust Him, wait for Him - endure. If more grace is needed, He will give it to you, grace upon grace! If a way of escape is needed, He will make it.
Notice that Jesus was not silent ALWAYS. In His time, in His way, He will speak again in a way you can understand. It will not always seem to be the "sound of silence". Until then, LISTEN. Find peace in the silence of His grace. His silence is proof of His love for you, that He is even closer to you in His silence. His hand is on your life for your good and His glory. His strength will be perfected in your weakness...!
"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" - 2Corinthian 12:10).
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