Every once in a while, in my pastoral ministry, I have encountered a situation in which I have to stop talking and allow someone to experience the repercussions of their choices. This happened recently with a friend of mine. She was convinced of a hopeless work situation and refused to see any other point of view or solution. I saw a few viable options which would allow her to keep her job and maintain certain workplace relationships. However, in the end, I had to offer my opinion, pray, and then sit back and be quiet. Things didn't turn out well. In the end, the job was lost and relationships were tarnished because of a hopeless attitude and poor choices.
I've been reminded recently, both through this and situations in my own life, that silence on the part of another doesn't necessarily indicate an uncaring attitude, but that, in some situations and for some seasons, silence is the only way to properly love.
In scripture, we get the picture of a God who, in loving His people, occasionally has need to check their disobedience with silence. We see this prophesied in Amos 8:
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the Lord. “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, But they will not find it.
A "famine" of the words of the Lord - It would have been easy for Israel to have heard this and believed that God was doing this out of spite or with a chip on His shoulder. However, repeatedly throughout the Bible, we get the assertion that God withholds His voice because of His desire for His people to draw near to Him - because of His love, not His hate. Even in Amos, we see a God who, though intent on punishing, concludes by announcing restoration and redemption.
This February, if you are experiencing a period of silence from God, ask yourself why. Have you made choices which have pushed Him away? Have you held attitudes which have resisted His call? Have you challenged His leadership by refusing to submit a goal, plan, or dream to His authority? If so, God's silence is designed to bring you back into a healthy, submissive relationship with Him.
God's silence is always an indication of His love - His love which will not let you go. Rest in this truth and return to the God of Love.
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