As I enjoy a taco today around the corner from home my thoughts once again turn to the topic of the silence of God. Yesterday my pastor, Steve Hixon, spoke on Habakkuk, the Old Testament prophet who loudly took issue with what he perceived to be the silence of God in regard to justice and action.
In his short story, Habakkuk basically says to God, “Hey! Are you seeing this bad stuff? Are you even paying attention? Why won’t you do something?” His cry is one I’m quite familiar with. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked God those questions. It keeps coming up during difficult seasons of my life. “God, are you there? Can you even see me? Just so you know, I’m the first human being west of that maple tree there!” As if God forgot to tag me with a tracking device. Right.
God responds to Habakkuk with a strong answer. “I am working in your day. I’m doing things that, even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. The wicked will get theirs. Just wait and see. And believe in Me until that day. For the righteous live by faith.”
Here’s the thing about God’s answer that I have to keep reminding myself each time I fire up questions like the prophet’s: Time and eternity. Those are the two dimensions to this Creation of God. God, who dwells in eternity, created time and mankind to dwell in it. He made us in His image but that image was not a full display. We are limited in our created realm to what we know and understand. We gain knowledge and information from what we observe and experience. Unless someone tells us (or we experience) something different than our own reality, we usually react to the here-and-now. It consumes our life, and that’s fine and good because we have to live in this present reality, but too often I forget that eternity keeps marching on outside of time and from its perspective things look different.
This is what God is telling Habakkuk, “I am working but you can’t see it, touch it or feel it. It’s big, my prophetic friend, very big. And you’re probably not going to like it. It deals with a barbaric people and exile and a lot of tears. But I am working.”
We only see things this side of heaven, which kinda sucks, but then again maybe its a good thing because our brains couldn’t handle the knowledge of the other side. If we were to see all the moving pieces that God has set into place and know His plans to the ninth degree, then we would probably explode. Literally. Boom. That’s why He asks us to trust in His character and track record — character that He has revealed to us through His Scripture; the knowledge of which He is constantly refreshing by His Spirit.
Steve said something yesterday that I am now sold on: if you’re struggling in the perceived silence of God, lean on the community of faith. Be around other believers. Isolation and silence are a toxic mix. During the darkest periods of my life I have found encouragement in community. It was a small group when I was in my early 20s and an office staff in recent years. Now I have friends offering encouragement and help. And I couldn’t make it without them.
There is SO much to say on this subject, for the silence of God affects every believer at some point in their walk with the Lord. Be assured that God IS working. You and I just may not be able to see it. Until we can see His hand, hang on with brothers and sisters until you once again see God at work.
BTW… If you see someone struggling and they’re not OCD, give ’em a hug. It works wonders.