Saturday, November 13, 2010

What To Do When God Says Nothing

Have you ever been in a place when the heavens seemed to be brass? You need direction, but the more you ask for it, the less you seem to hear? You pray and pray but it seems like no one is listening. Maybe you have a decision to make and you have asked the Lord for wisdom, but He hasn't responded. If you are like me, you have probably found yourself in such a season more than once - you may even be in one now. We all know the Lord loves us and He has promised to never leave us. We believe that He wants to guide and lead us, so why are there times when He seems to not answer us when we need to hear from Him the most?

One very valid explanation is that the enemy is resisting us. In Daniel chapter 10 we can read about a time when the answer to Daniel's prayer was held up for 21 days. It can be the same for us. The Lord may send the answer, and it could be delayed in reaching us because of the enemy's attempts to divert it. In the meantime, if we lose heart, we may very well miss the answer when it arrives.

Now, that being said, what about those times when it's not the enemy delaying our answer? What about those times when the Lord chooses to be silent and not give us the answer we are seeking? I have wrestled with this question quite a bit during my walk with Him. I certainly don't claim to have it all figured out, but I do feel like He has given me some insight into these seasons. It is easy to become frustrated during these times, but it can help us if we understand that the Lord has not left us, and He is definitely not ignoring us :) On the contrary, He may actually be saying quite a bit through His silence.

I have come to believe that there are three common reasons why the Lord seems to be silent at times. There are probably many more, but these three seem to be the most common. Let us briefly examine them:

First, the Lord may seem to be silent because He has already told us what we need to know. It could be that the Bible clearly gives us the answer, or we may discover His leading as we read through our old dream journals. Nicole and I have recently re-discovered revelation the Lord gave us a few years ago. It didn't make any sense at the time, but we kept it on the shelf and He brought it back to the surface when we needed it. You might be surprised what wealth of wisdom might be in your old dreams, visions or prophetic words.

Another common reason the Lord seems to be silent at times is because the timing is not right for us to know just yet. As a father to two little girls, I would do anything in my power to make my two little angels happy. The only reasons I wouldn't give them what they want is either that I don't have it to give, or that it would hurt them to have it. Apart from those reasons, it's theirs. I believe the Lord is the same. There are times when He doesn't show us the big picture because we don't need that much information just yet. We might want it, but it may actually be harmful for us to have it prematurely. We must to learn to trust Him to lead us step by step and believe that He will show us what we need to know when we need it. I might want to know everything now, but He knows best. Looking back, He has never made a mistake!

The third common reason I have noticed that the Lord may not speak to us is that what we are asking about may actually be a "non-issue." There have been several times that I have been scheduled to speak at a church and have asked the Lord for His heart for that particular meeting. Many times I have not heard anything in response, and it turned out that the meeting ended up being cancelled or postponed. Another example could be that we are praying about a certain situation that, in reality, we don't really understand. As time passes and we learn more about what's really going on, we realize that there was really nothing for the Lord to say. He knew that all along, but it took time for us to understand it. He doesn't need to address a situation that doesn't really exist, or doesn't truly exist the was we initially perceive it.

We are living in an age that is filled with uncertainty. We have committed our lives to the Lord and we seek every day to be led by Him. There is no greater life to live than this, but it is certainly not without its challenges. One of these is having to navigate through seasons when the Lord seems to be silent. During these times, we need to remember what we have discussed in this post, but most importantly we need to remember His words to us:

" ... Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord: "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

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