Thursday, June 14, 2007

When God is silent

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Job 7, 8, 9

Job 7:19-21 (NIV)
19 “Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant? 20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? 21 Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more.”

Matthew 27:46 (NIV)
46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Good morning!

Have you ever questioned God? Did you blame Him for a miserable moment you experienced somewhere along life’s path? It is an easy thing to do, especially when we are in extreme pain. We cannot see things objectively or understand why God would allow this awful thing to happen to us. Job had based his entire life on purposefully honoring the Lord. He wanted to please God more than anything else. He wanted His family to bring God honor by the way they chose to live each day of their lives. Job had worked very hard at this. What happens when, one day, we realize that all of our good work is simply not enough? Do we wonder, like Job, who could ever possibly please the Lord God Almighty?

I admit that there have been times when I have held my angry and wounded heart up to the Lord, waiting for Him to speak. I longed to see the bigger picture, but my tiny mind would not let me move past the pain. Suffering catches us where we are the most vulnerable and holds us in a death grip as we try unsuccessfully to wiggle free. Morning after morning, Job had come to know the Lord He loved. How could His God do this to him? What had he done to deserve such judgment and ridicule from the Lord, the giver of life? Why would His heavenly Father, who had walked side by side with him all those years, suddenly become silent and elusive just when Job needed Him the most?

Job was angry and bewildered. He was questioning his beliefs; wondering if He had misplaced his faith after all those years. Job went directly to the Lord, shaking his fist and demanding answers. Have you ever shaken your fist in anger at God? Were you hurting so much that you wondered how a God of mercy and grace could possibly exist while allowing unspeakable grief to ravage your life?

God had allowed a plague of evil to overshadow Job. Why would God do such a thing? The Lord allowed Satan to slither inside a good man’s family, forging a path of death and destruction upon them, and Job could not see or understand why. How could he accept this cup of bitterness from the God he loved? Like Job, there is a time when we come to the realization that all of our good works and deep desires to please Him simply pales in comparison to His greatness and glory. Who can understand the Lord? Are we fully able to comprehend His master plan for humanity and the people who surround us every day? Are we willing to trust Him, even in moments of utter despair? Is it possible that God can take our broken hearts and use it to help heal someone else’s pain? There are some things in life we will never fully understand. Are you willing to allow your pain to bring comfort to someone else who is crying out for help today? Will we allow our compassion to become living action as we reach out in love to a hurting world?

If you have ever lost someone you love, or suffered with a painful illness or infirmity that plagues you every single day, you may not realize it now, but God is allowing a greater plan to emerge from your life experience. He can give you a heart of compassion for those who suffer, if you let Him. True relationship evolves from the life experiences we share. It is a common thread that unites us. Has Job’s life example made a difference for you? Can you relate to the suffering of this humble servant of God?

When God is silent, do not despair. Trust Him enough to know there is a greater plan beyond the things you are experiencing today. We can choose to love our Lord all the more, knowing without a doubt He holds our hearts and bears our grief. He will not let us go, especially when we are suffering. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, understands our pain. He knows what it feels like when God is silent.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: wisdom to know that even in the silence, God speaks. His plan and purpose is so much larger than anything we can possibly understand. Trust Him today, knowing He has not abandoned you. God understands your suffering. He sees your face. He loves you and will not forsake you, even when evil touches your life. Let God turn your pain into compassion that births action for another hurting soul. Won’t you hand Him your hurt today?
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