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Oswald Chambers said, “Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer?”
While we often think God’s silence means He has abandoned us or left us, that is not true. God’s silence does not equal God’s absence.
But what do we do in those moments?
God is inviting us into something through His silence, just like He does through His leadings, promptings and moves in our lives.
Philip Yancey in his book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? gives some helpful steps on how to handle the silence of God or what seems like unanswered prayer:
- Do I have any sins to confess?
Many times our distance with God is because of unconfessed sin. When we struggle to move forward in relationships, when we struggle to hear God, to find freedom in our lives, it is because of our sin that we are carrying around; bitterness we haven’t let go of, people we still blame, situations we replay in our minds, and secrets we keep hidden.
- What are my motives for prayer?
Many times we pray to get something, to become rich or to have an easier life. We want God on our terms, and when this happens we miss God. This is why God feels distant. We aren’t looking for God, we are looking for a version of God we’ve created.
In this, are you listening to God or just talking to God? Too often our prayer life is one way, me just telling God what I want, what I need, what He can do. I’m not asking Him questions, I’m not listening to Him.
Another one I’ll have people say is, “I asked God about ______ (and in the blank is always something God has already told us the answer to in the Bible), but He didn’t answer.” Of course not; He’s already given you an answer. Why does He need to tell you again?
- Am I pursuing results rather than closeness with God?
I said earlier that the writers of Scripture spend little time answering why suffering happens and more time on what suffering, pain and silence produce in us. It produces perseverance, character, patience, hope, joy and so on.
- Is God preparing me for something?
Often God is using our spiritual dryness for something in the future. I read once that a vintner refuses to irrigate his vines because the stress caused by occasional drought produces the best, most tasty grapes. Seasons of dryness make the roots run deep, strengthening the vine for whatever the future holds.
- Pray with others.
This is the power of community, praying together and sharing evidences of God’s grace. When you sit with your RC and share how you have seen God work in your life, and you can’t think of any, but the person next to you shares several, yes, you will get mad at first. Why isn’t God moving in my life like He is yours? Why isn’t God answering my prayers? But you will also start to see that even when you can’t see God at work in your life, He is at work.
I saw this in my life about 18 months ago. Our church was growing, we were meeting on the east side in a school and things were going well. We were outgrowing our space, so we moved to a larger school, and in six months half our church had left. It hurt. People I was close to said everything had changed and left. It rocked my confidence, made me question my leadership. Should I quit Revolution? Did I make a wrong choice? Was I a bad leader? During this time, every pastor I met was leading a church that was growing. I was watching ours shrink.
I asked God why, and nothing.
Slowly I stopped asking why and I started asking God what He wanted to show me and what He wanted to invite me into. I began to see His invitation to know His love for me, which seemed like an odd answer because at the time it had very little to do with Revolution. And yet my relationship with God is deeper than ever before, my heart towards God and people is softer than ever before. Could that happen without losing my confidence? Maybe, but God saw that as the best way forward for me. Many times God’s perceived silence is to draw us deeper into Him. The dark place you are in might be God’s invitation to you to meet Him there. You will not walk out the same.
Henry Blackaby said, “You can respond to the silence of God in two ways. One response is for you to go into depression, a sense of guilt and self-condemnation. The other response is for you to have an expectation that God is about to bring you to a deeper knowledge of Himself. These responses are as different as night and day.”
James, the brother of Jesus, says in the New Testament, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James does not give us a time line on this promise, just that it is a promise.
Too often the reason we miss God is our rush for something to happen, for something to change.
Frequently God’s silence is an invitation for us to stop, to slow down, to meet God and do some hard heart work. This can be painful and is often why we try to skip out of it. Yet, just like we will miss out on God’s best if we don’t follow His leadings, we will miss out on His best for us if we don’t follow His silence.
Check out the below website, this movie help you to help others to hopefully change their mind – it is very direct and to the point!
There is great security in the salvation of the Lord. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, and His decision stands. The Holy Spirit has caused us to be born again, and there is no means by which we can destroy the life He has given us. Every believer has been crucified with Christ, and nowhere in Scripture do we see a way we can be uncrucified. Everyone who has believed in Jesus Christ is justified, and no work of man or Satan can overturn the verdict of God. Jesus exercises sovereign care over all His people. Those in His hands cannot be taken from Him. Yet, despite the security of our salvation and standing before God through Jesus Christ, we can still find our way into trouble when we wander away from the hope of the gospel.
And wander we do. While wandering can come in the form of giving in to immorality, it more often masquerades as a kind of Christianity. For many, the Christian life is driven by doctrinal precision. We may rightly value our confessional heritage and see the importance of robust theology, but this can itself become the goal for which we strive while missing the connection of all theology to the gospel. Knowledge often “puffs up” and the resulting pride leads us into confessional confidence over gospel confidence. Some Christians base their spiritual life on emotions—the deep stirrings of the heart that are often connected with the profound truths of God. But while the truths of God never change, our experience of them does. And when the feelings are not there, our faith ends up in crisis. In finding confidence in our emotions, we wander from what should be our only hope in life and in death. Many of us lose sight of the gospel as we focus on our own works and how well we are doing spiritually. By measuring ourselves against self-imposed standards, we believe ourselves to be strong or weak, but in each case the fix is found in doing our best, rather than the work of Christ.
Fundamentally, the gospel is forgotten when it no longer functions as our ongoing hope and confidence before God, or when it becomes unessential for the practical, daily living of the Christian life. The gospel we often forget must be reclaimed and retained for the safety of our souls, and this is done through preaching the gospel to ourselves.
Preaching the gospel to ourselves is calling ourselves to return to Jesus for forgiveness, cleansing, empowerment, and purpose. It is answering doubts and fears with the promises of God. Do my sins condemn me? Jesus has covered them all in His blood. Do my works fall short? Jesus’ righteousness is counted as mine. Are the world, the devil, and my own flesh conspiring against me? Not even a hair can fall from my head apart from the will of my Father in heaven, and He has promised to care for me and keep me forever. Can I really deny myself, carry my cross, and follow Jesus? Yes, for God is at work in me, willing and working in me for His own pleasure. This is what it looks like to preach to ourselves.
This private and personal preaching can only happen when the Word of God is known and believed; when God’s law reveals our sin and helplessness, and His grace covers that sin and overcomes our weaknesses. Preaching the gospel to ourselves is not simply the act of studying the Bible (though we can preach to ourselves in that act), but it is actively calling ourselves to believe the promises of God in Jesus His Son.
We preach to ourselves through the disciplines of prayer and meditation on Scripture. In praying, we look to God to graciously meet our needs, and in the act itself we exercise faith. In his exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, Thomas Manton said, “Prayer … is a preaching to ourselves in God’s hearing. We speak to God to warm ourselves, not for his information, but for our edification.” The gospel promises in God’s Word guide us in prayer, leading us to the safety of Jesus’ service and sacrifice. By meditation, we call to mind the gospel; by prayer, we claim the gospel as our great hope.
Most of us need to rediscover the gospel. And such a recovery is needed daily because our need is ever present and our hearts are prone to wander. But gospel recovery only happens when we feel the weight of our sins, the weakness of our flesh, and the frailty of our faith. This means that only those who know themselves to be unworthy sinners and God’s Word to be true will find the gospel to be not only good news, but good news for their own souls.
“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering!” Isaiah 48:10
The love of Jesus will not preserve His people from trials–but rather, assures them of trials! All whom He loves–He chastens! He has a furnace to purge our dross, and refine our souls. His Word and the Spirit reveal to us our defilement and impurity–and His grace and providence co-operate to remove them. “I am the Lord God who sanctifies you.”
It is divine love which . . .
prepares the furnace,
kindles the flame,
brings the Christian into it,
superintends the whole process, and
brings him out as gold, seven times purified!
“From all your filthiness and from all your idols, I will cleanse you!” He cleanses them in the laver of the Word by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit. But He also cleanses them by a variety of afflictive dispensations, through which He causes them to pass.
Our sin calls for trials–His love sends them!
Our nature repines at trials–but grace submits to them!
Our corruption is enraged at trials–but the Spirit sanctifies them to our good, and our Savior’s glory.
He makes His people choice ones–in the “furnace of affliction!” He says, “I will put you into the fire–and will purge away your dross.”
Believer, never repine at your trials, nor be over-anxious for their removal. They are appointed by Jesus as your Purifier–and are choice blessings in disguise!
Seek their sanctification,
wrestle with God that you may see His love in every stroke, and
look to Jesus that you may enjoy His presence when passing through the flame!
Nothing can hurt you–while Jesus is near you; and He is never nearer to you–than when you are in the furnace! For He sits right there as the Refiner . . .
watching the process,
regulating the heat, and
waiting to effect a gracious deliverance–when the ends of His love are answered.
He is only preparing you for fresh manifestations of His glory–and fitting you for larger communications of His love.
In the furnace, you will lose nothing that is worth keeping–but you will obtain what is truly valuable!
The flesh and the soul need constant cleansings–for corruption is so deeply rooted in our nature, that it takes a long and painful process to purge it out! But in reference to the furnace, your Lord says, “The Lord did this to purge Israel’s wickedness, to take away all her sin!”
A great illustration on what the Church is supposed to be.
A great illustration on who the church is.
For wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction–and there are many who go in by it.
Because narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way which leads to life–and there are few who find it!” Matthew 7:13-14
There are only two GATES:
One of them wide. Its name is Self . . .
my own desires,
my own proud thoughts,
my own righteousness,
my own beloved and darling sins,
my own plans and pleasures.
The other gate is narrow. Its name is Christ–Christ sought with repentance and godly sorrow–Christ followed at any hazard. It is the gate of the crucifixion of Self!
There are only two WAYS:
One of them is broad, easy, pleasant, comfortable, pleasing to the flesh, thronged with multitudes–a primrose path, but always tending downward, and bringing disastrous consequences.
The other way is difficult and narrow, as it were through a gorge between craggy cliffs which nearly meet, haunted by dangers and enemies, chosen by comparatively few. The Christian’s toilsome pilgrimage and dangerous journey–ah, how the road climbs up and up!
There are only two ENDS:
One of them is destruction—
dark, hopeless, irretrievable,
the death of peace,
the death of hope,
the death of every good impulse,
the death of the soul!
The other end is life—
life at its fullest, sublimest, sweetest,
life without sin and without sorrow,
life in the land of life and glory,
life in the presence of Christ to all eternity!
Consciously, deliberately, unequivocally, may I seek . . .
the narrow gate,
the difficult way,
the end which is everlasting life!
Many people love to play games that test their knowledge. Recently, a colleague and I were testing a Bible-knowledge game. Since we were seated in an open area of our office, those nearby could hear our conversation. Soon questions ranging from Noah’s ark to the woman at the well were being answered by those within earshot of us. It was a delight to hear various staff members volunteering responses to Bible questions.
A knowledge of the Bible is important, but God desires us to be saturated with His Word and to internalize it so we can grow in our relationship with Him. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to make us more like Christ (Eph. 4:20-24). Consider these benefits of internalizing the Bible: joy and rejoicing (Jer. 15:16); spiritual success (Josh. 1:8); a tool in spiritual warfare (Matt. 4:1-11); correction (2 Tim. 3:15-16); light for our path (Ps. 119:105); wisdom with problem solving (Prov. 1:1-2); and stimulating faith (Rom. 10:17).
Learning about the Bible just to increase our knowledge can lead to spiritual pride (1 Cor. 8:1). But allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us by the Word helps us navigate through life’s twists and turns and respond in love to God and to each other. —Dennis Fisher
My hunger for the truth He satisfies;
Upon the Word, the Living Bread, I feed:
No parching thirst I know, because His grace,
A pool of endless depth, supplies my need. —Sanders
Many books can inform, but only the Bible can transform.
There is no record in the Bible of God speaking to anyone in any form—including dreams, oracles, or visions—from the time of Joseph to the time of Moses. When the people of Israel were led out into the wilderness, it is likely that they had little knowledge of the God who had delivered them and was leading them to a new home. The commands given through Moses were meant to reintroduce God to them and to help them to be people who would be a light to others (cf. Isa. 49:3). By keeping God’s words always in front of them (Deut. 6:6-9), they could live by those words and be transformed into people who showed God to the world.