Have you ever felt like you were beginning to feel close to God and your trust in Him was beginning to strengthen to a deeper level. Then all of a sudden it seemed as if all your dreams and desires were dashed and it was like God left you empty handed. It was like He turned His back on you just when you were beginning to trust Him the most. You thought He wanted your best, but it felt like He abandoned you, leaving you with nothing but a broken heart, resulting in an endless amount of weighty questions.
What once felt like a close and personal relationship with God left you feeling like He was distant and unconcerned. The One who proclaimed to do the impossible, and was in control of it all, left you feeling more disappointed than those who chose not to follow and trust God. You trusted in Him, so why did God lead you here? Why are you suffering for believing God? Why are you feeling more lost than when you first started? Why does God feel so far away when He promised to be close to those who seek Him?
While I don’t have the answers to God’s reasoning for why He does certain things, I have found that while we’re in the midst of our mess we are blinded to the fact that God is using even the most traumatic experiences to perform His greatest miracles. Miracles aren’t always amazing performances of wonderful bright and sunny experiences. Miracles sometimes occur even in the darkest of valleys. In fact, I’ve often found that God works the most in me when life feels the darkest. I’ve heard it said that we should only be worried when we aren’t struggling through something. If everything is going good, then maybe we should begin to get concerned. Satan likes to use both the good and the bad to get us to trip up. Can I say that the times I feel farthest from God is in those good moments of life where things seem to be okay and I don’t feel as though I need God for direction. God performs miracles in our lives through the darkest of times, but sometimes we just don’t see them until we come through the darkness and into the light.
When God seems silent it is our first inkling to assume that He’s not present. When we fail to see any “activity” we begin to question His presence. We often forget that God is different than us. When people seem distant and inactive in our lives, usually we derive that they are uninterested. If they really cared they would be more involved with our life. Although that is not always the case with everyone, we can rest assured that God operates on a different level. Even though God seems silent, it isn’t determined by His love and involvement in our lives. Sometimes God’s silence is used as a tool for us to strengthen our trust. God doesn’t always display His presence in our lives through dramatic terms, sometimes He speaks and works in our lives through moments of intimate silence.
In I Kings 19:12 God causes a fire and earthquake to occur near the cave where Elijah was hiding out due to his fear of Jezebel’s threats. God had asked Elijah to come out of the cave so he could stand in God’s presence. Although the wind, fire and earthquake all were great forms of power and God’s handiwork, it is clearly stated that God’s presence wasn’t in any of them. It was the silence after the great powerful acts that God’s voice was clearly heard through a gentle whisper. Although God does use great acts of manifestation to display His presence, sometimes God chooses to speak to us in the humblest of ways; only to be experienced when we are willing to listen and wait for God. Sometimes God’s presence comes in the most unexpected of times and conditions. It may not be how we expected, but God is trying to teach us something special.
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve struggled through a trial, wondering where God was and questioned what He was doing. When I reached the other side of the trial and took a glimpse of my past, I was astonished by how He protected and led me exactly to where I am. Things don’t always make sense when we’re in them, and sometimes things don’t always make sense looking back over our painful past either. We often try to make sense of our “little world” and interpret what God is doing in our lives as if it were something harmful. If we could only see the awesome plan God is orchestrating far beyond our comprehension. When God feels like He’s trying to break us, He is rather trying to break open our heart and keep chipping away at the rough edges to produce a heart that is softened and refined.
Let’s not forget the God whom we serve. His promises are secure. His character is flawless. He never changes, and in result, all He has spoken and all that He is will never alter depending on condition or time. With a world constantly changing it is impossible to find a steadfast foundation to rest in. With people’s opinions and intentions changing momentarily it causes us to become hesitant in opening up to anyone or giving much of ourselves because we’re afraid of the uncertainty of our acceptance. We are afraid that while someone may love us today, that love may fade in an instant. With God we can be certain that His love for us will never change. Sometimes it is difficult for me to comprehend how God cannot change. He won’t love us today and forget about us tomorrow. He isn’t surprised by our present circumstances and isn’t trying to keep up-to-speed with our future plans. He’s not aimlessly throwing things into place in our lives. It is all carefully thought out, organized and prepared. Not a few days in advance, but way before we even began life on this earth. We can have full confidence knowing that God has got our life under control.
Don’t let your past, or present, circumstances consume you. Let them be covered by the hope of God’s amazing future for you. Learn from the past, but don’t live there. Let your past be the launching pad of the great things God has taught you and use it to overcome the present and the future. Don’t let Satan cloud your view by making you believe all the hard circumstances you have faced were useless.
Satan is a great deceiver. He causes us to doubt and lose our faith. If Satan gets you to believe that God is your enemy you will never be able to overcome effectively. With a recent struggle I felt as though it left me questioning God’s love for me. It wasn’t until a few months later that He allowed my heart to change and I realized that even though I felt alone, He was never against me. He was working through those difficult times and He was fighting through it with me. I was never alone. God hadn’t rejected me. He didn’t forget about me. Satan was filling my head, and heart, with lies to tear me down in the weakest areas of my soul. He wanted me so worn out and stripped down so that I would keep crawling and falling deeper into his deceptive schemes. He wanted my perception to be clouded and me believing that God was my enemy. He wanted my trust to be shaken so I would question God’s provision and purpose of my life. He wanted my heart to become bitter with God so that I would believe He was against me, when in reality, He’s the only One that could ever truly save me from my brokenness. That’s how Satan works. That’s how he gets us.
God is never our enemy. He’s not looking for ways to harm or hurt us. He’s not actively wondering how He can get you to fall, trip or mess up. That’s Satan’s department. God’s not secretly withholding things, that would benefit you, out of His need for control. God has promised to supply all our needs and offer His unfailing love to us. Even though God does allow painful circumstances to occur in our lives He is using even the most traumatizing things to be used for something extraordinary. Even though He may not grant us with the desires on our heart, He is protecting us and allowing us to draw into a deeper relationship with Him than if we had all the desires of our heart. He sees the painful scars on your heart and knows the all-too familiar ache that it causes because He went through it with you. He’s the Friend that never forsakes and the Father who’s always there protecting you.
We can believe that God is in this battle with us. We aren’t alone. We aren’t forgotten. His silence is being used to strengthen us. His silence doesn’t define His presence. We can believe that He’s working and present even through the numbing silence. We can believe because He’s not finished working yet. There’s more to our lives than the daily struggle we face each day. There’s more to our lives that the eye can see. Our circumstances have a much deeper meaning that we may never fully comprehend until we reach eternity. We can believe because God’s promises are trustworthy and His Word stands true. We can believe because nothing surprises God. Nothing ever passes through His hands that He knows that you and Him aren’t capable of getting through together!
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. // Isaiah 41:10
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. // Exodus 14:14
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. // Isaiah 43:2
Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee. // James 4:7