August 29, 2008
by Charles R. Swindoll
Since we are trapped in this earthbound cage, this little space where light is often diffused and God is sometimes silent, how can we be sensitive to His interventions? What do we do when we, like Job, struggle in the fog with God's silence, when we're convinced that His silence means absence?
Please be assured, He is not absent. He may be silent, but He's not absent.
The fog on your lake is neither accidental nor fatal. So while swimming, listen very carefully and patiently for His voice. Some days you will be seized with panic and dog-paddle like mad. You'll try various approaches: breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke, float. But all the time, you want to be listening for His voice. I urge you to listen with great sensitivity, because His message will come in various ways.
I get nervous around some people and the way they talk about hearing God or seeing Him at work. Sometimes I freely admit that I want to recommend a good therapist. Especially when I hear people say things like, "The Lord spoke to me in my kitchen at 2:15 this morning." Or, "God found me a parking space today." I consider these folks "bumper-sticker Christians." They're often scary folks, almost spooky. Miracles are everyday occurrences to them. They see skywriting in the clouds, and they hear voices in the night. Hear me well, that's not the kind of "voice" I'm talking about.
God gave you a mind. God gave you reason. God gave you a unique sensitivity; it's built into your spiritual system, and each person's system is tuned differently. God wants to reveal His will to you and to teach you while you are waiting. So while you are waiting, don't start searching for spooky stuff. We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Get into His Word. Get on your knees. Accept counsel from those who are maturing and balanced believers, solidly biblical in their theology and in their own lives. And wait.
However, there are tangible things to connect with. Passages of Scripture that bring comfort and insight. Messages that enlighten and enliven. Certain people you respect. Tap into those, wait, and listen with a sensitive ear. Like Esther, don't rush into big decisions. And may I be painfully direct? Don't talk so much! Believers who are maturing not only respect God's silence, they model it as well.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.