Have you ever had a close family member or friend that suddenly stopped talking to you? For no reason at all? You send texts and emails with no response? You try calling them but have a strong suspicion that they are hitting the ignore button when they see your name on caller id. Suddenly with no reasonable explanation, you find yourself on “radio silence.” You begin to wonder …. what did I do? Did I say something to offend them? You’re hurt. You’re sad. And the bitter, harsh sting of rejection begins to invade your mind, your peace, and your tranquility. Sound familiar to anyone?
Well, I just had that experience. Not with man though, but with God.
I’m very fortunate because I am accustomed to having a close, personal relationship with God. I can usually feel His presence around me and He talks to me on a regular basis. Not only do I have prayer and worship time on the regular – but I love it! I thrive and derive great pleasure in the time I spend with God.
However recently, I just wasn’t “feeling it.” I was doing the same things. But I got the sense that God wasn’t. At first I thought it was me – being tired, over worked, over loaded. But as this feeling (or lack of feeling) lingered, of course I had to start blaming God. I was showing up but He wasn’t. There had to be a problem – and I was convinced it was on His end.
In this silence, I begin to relate myself to Job (the guy in the bible who lost everything while God appeared to just sit on the sideline watching). Me, totally holy and good (like Job), but somehow on the receiving end of something I didn’t deserve. However, unlike Job (I guess I’m not as holy and good), I began to blame God. What was His deal anyway? Why did He suddenly maintain an aloof, distant attitude? Why was He acting like the boyfriend that breaks up with you but fails to be man enough to say it? He just stops calling you and stops responding to your calls and texts. What the …. ?????
I went through the whole spectrum of rejection emotions: confusion, hurt, anger, bitterness, revenge (yeah that phase was short cuz how do get revenge on God.) After being exhausted with all these emotions, I finally settled into sullenness and quiet resignation. It was then that I began to let God teach me something critical in the midst of His silence.
What I learned is that a real, intimate, loving relationship is not about emotions. Emotions are a byproduct. True love is about position. He showed me that I don’t feel love. I am love. “I am my beloveds and he is mine.” Song of Solomon 6:3.
Love is not a feeling, it’s a choice. It’s not something that just happens. It’s something that you work at every day (whether you “feel” like it or not.) It’s reporting for duty with fever, chills, and a cough. I work in Human Resources so I know that’s not cool – but you get my point. It’s working at it even when you are sick, tired, and just really don’t care and don’t want to. Love is maybe not always understanding but always believing.
I used to think that Job’s test was the calamaties that he suffered. He lost his possessions, income, and children all in 1 day. But I began to realize that Job’s test wasn’t in the trials and tribulations but rather in the silence or absence of God’s presence or voice. What would he do if he was under attack and God didn’t show up right away? Or at all? Would he curse God and die (as Job’s wife foolishly advised him to do.) Or would he “Be still and know that I AM GOD” Psalm 46:10.
Somewhere in a Jewish concentration camp, they found someone had written: I believe in sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in God even when He is silent.
You see, most relationships are tested during times of pressure not peace. Unfortunately, in our microwave and instant mashed potato society, we lack the fortitude or resilience to stay the course. We let our feelings lead and our choices follow. God knows this, that’s why He tests us with silence at times. It’s easy to have faith when you see benefits and feel good. But that’s not the definition of faith. The bible defines faith as “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV
We need to have more confidence in God and His Word – the promises He made for us long before we were born. We need to believe more in our position with Him (royal priesthood, holy nation, chosen generation, God’s special possession as stated in 1 Peter 2:9) than our temporary and distracting circumstances. God promises that He “will never leave you nor forsake you” in Deuteronomy 31:6. So He’s got you! In muscle gym terms, He’s your “spotter.” When trouble comes and it seems like God is far away, do not fret or doubt. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV. God is right there. Just believe!
We say we believe. But our response and reactions say the exact opposite. Job knew who he was in God’s sight. And while he was frustrated, confused, and shocked at his circumstances, he never doubted God’s love for him. His walk was legitimate. His love for God was real. We need to follow his example. It’s time for a little less talk and a lot more walk.