My years of faith have testified to volumes of messages from God. Some have been chastening messages, some encouraging, some prompting, some thwarting, but all have been good because they have been nuggets of wisdom delivered specifically to meet my needs.
For 17 years, God had a flawless track record of convicting me of sin and planting a solid sense of conscience in me so that I never really had to experience a lack of understanding. God always nudged me toward or away from where he wanted me to end up, therefore, I was always adequately warned of consequence or heartbreak before it happened. I wore this expectation about the nature of God like a processing filter over my perception of life events. Then, 17 years in, God threw me the biggest curve ball of my life with silence and it was the hardest test I’ve ever had to pass.
What’s worse than a “No” answer to prayer?
Silence is worse.
What do you do if He’s sought, yet silent?
What do you do if your prayer power is at an all-time high and yet God remains distant?
Do you wait and try again later?
Do you rephrase the question?
I confess, my reaction was anger. Our relationship had been a steady diet of dialogue and I wanted feedback. I got angry and I stayed angry . . . for years. I held out for God to answer me.
“Tell me why God. Why didn’t you nudge me this time? Why didn’t you warn me? Why did you allow me to believe that my request was in sync with your plan only to allow reality to contradict it?”
I could rephrase the question 100 ways, but the scenario was still the same – I made demands and refused to go any further in my faith until I got an answer.
God can wait forever.
He can hold out longer than I can.
Eventually, my question evolved.
“God, why won’t you answer me?”
“Because I am God and I don’t owe you an answer.”
It was the ever-dreaded, conversation-ending, parental, “because I said so” response. The discussion was over.
Could I accept His final answer or would this display of His authority put an end to my spiritual passion? Were my wants, needs and demands the substance behind my faith because I knew God to be the giver of all good things or could my love for Him stand alone if He never blessed me with another thing, if He never answered another prayer, if I never felt His presence again?
Yes, it could. I would still believe.
Until God confronted me with silence, I did not know how much I loved Him. I did not know my faithfulness was pure and authentic because the pursuit of blessing had always been between us.
Now I believe for different reasons. I believe because He is worthy of belief, not because He can bless me. He may choose not to. And if I am a true disciple, then I will be accepting of that portion and passionate just the same. No earthly experience should come between me and my God.