Day Ten: Brave Enough to Believe He’s Near

I open my Bible, and start reading. Just like the morning before. My heart poised and ready to hear that still small voice, the rush and warmth that comes from feeling God near through his Word. I wait. And nothing. 

I flip to another page. The same stillness. Almost dead-like. I pray, ask God to come, to be near. Still nothing. Honestly, I’m not even sure what I’m waiting for. All I know is that it feels quiet. So I after a few minutes I close my Bible and go shower. 

I used to view these seasons of apparent silence from God as the ultimate sign our relationship was on the rocks. I’d scramble to confess sin, straining to “feel” his presence because I was sure if he wasn’t speaking, there was something wrong with me. I’d crumble in a small heap of insecurity.

“What have I done to displease him?”

“What does he want from me that I’m not giving him?”

I’d search my heart, ask my friends and family, desperate to “get right with God” so he would speak to me again. 

I used to dread the “silence”. I grew up in my faith believing God only kept silent when things weren’t going right. I was insecure in the silence. I’d flounder, often aimlessly searching for some grievance I could right, some area I could try harder in, so God would talk to me, so God would love me again. 

When I look back on those times, I see much that is flawed in that view of myself before God. There’s nothing I can do to earn favor or grace with him, that’s why Jesus came. Yes, I need to repent of sin, but when I do, God doesn’t withhold his presence as a punishment. Jesus already bore my punishment and shame. So why the silence?

But these days, I’ve stopped fearing the silence. Mostly because I’ve come to realize, that in the silence God is still saying things. 

Because my feeling of his presence is irrelevant to whether or not he’s there. He is present. God isn’t a feeling, a sense, or a tremor. He’s a person, and he promises to never leave us or forsake us. He promises nothing can separate us from his love. He promises to be found by those who seek him.

But these days, I’ve stopped fearing the silence. Mostly because I’ve come to realize, that in the silence God is still saying things. 

Although I don't know why God allows seasons of seeming silence, I know he continues to work through them. He continues to be near, and even when I can't feel him I have faith in his promises. 

In the silence I have sought him harder, and found him in places I never thought he'd be. I've found him in our finances, in miraculous provision, in words of a friend, a pastor, my spouse. I've found him in peace, and in turmoil. In a bus bunk, and in the people I meet on the road. Moving and speaking without even when I can't hear him at first. 

So take heart, friend. Whatever season you may find yourself in, God loves you and is near. He has fought, died, rose again to be with you, to include you in his glory.