Sunday, August 14, 2011

Trusting God's Silence

But he did not say a word in answer to her. – Matthew 15:23
Silence.
I sometimes get the same answer from Jesus when I pray.
No answer. No response. Nothing.
Just silence.
I have always heard that God answers prayers in one of three ways - Yes, No and Maybe.
Maybe? Is that what silence means?
Or is God just trying to get my attention?
The longer God is silent, the more choices I seem to consider in how I can respond. I can surrender. I can persist. I can fall to my knees and beg.
I can fall to my knees with my face in the dirt and I can beg for crumbs.
Or I can be open to the possibility that God is calling me to a deeper level of faith.
I do not believe that God ever ignores us or our prayers. God may be silent. He may give us an answer we do not like. But He loves us and He knows our hearts. And He knows what we need … even when we don’t know.
So sometimes we will persist and question and beg for crumbs if we feel we must. But may we always believe and know in our hearts - God hears our every word and feels our every heart beat.
Dear Lord, help me to grow in faith. Help me to believe in your everlasting love and mercy and compassion. Help me to trust your silence. Amen.

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16 comments :

Nancy said...

Colleen, There are many times that I wish God was here on earth...in the physical way again. Just so I can see and touch him and actually here his answer with my own ears. But, alas, this is not the way God wills it to be. So....I struggle with hearing nothing most of the time. I struggle in this area all the time. Thanks for posting it!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Nancy is right. I wish we could really hear Him say Yes, No, Maybe or Not Now.

But then, if I heard His voice speaking to me I'd probably fall off my chair. So in the meantime, I'm still waiting and listening to the silence.

God bless.

Maria said...

Other answers I've heard from God are, "No, I love you too much" or "not yet" or "no, you'll spoil your dinner." (as in, He has something much better planned than the trifling little thing I've asked for). If God truly is Love, then how could He ever ignore even our pettiest requests?

I guess I agree with Nancy, too, except it's just because I want to be able to give Jesus a huge hug whenever I want. That's top of my to-do list for when the kingdom comes :-)

mary333 said...

Thank you for this post, Colleen. Walking in the silence is a faith builder but difficult. I know the Lord is trying to tell me something by the silence itself but I still get a bit impatient at times. Like I want to run the whole race in one day or something, Lol ;) I prayed this prayer with you at the end - it was beautiful in it's directness and simplicity and I like prayers like that. God bless!

Sorry I didn't join in yesterday. I haven't been able to post at all since Wednesday because the kids (watching my sister's children in the summer) wouldn't give me a chance and I finally threw up my hands in defeat. I'm probably not supposed to be happy that they're all starting school in a few weeks but I am! Sometimes, the noise just drives me batty :)

Can I link to your book on my site? I did it with Sue Elvis' book and would like to link yours in this manner if it's okay with you. You know how powerfully your book hit me.

Michael said...

Silence is the hardest isnt it? We've all played the game where we ask God for a sign ... but its always a yes or no sign isnt it? Its never ... "say nothing if you have a plan"

You'd think that sooner or later I'd realize He always has a plan huh?

God Bless you!

Karinann said...

Colleen,
You have touched on what I think are two important points of today's GOspel: 1)God hears our every prayer even when it doesn't seem like it. 2)Not to be afraid of the silence and trust that He is there in it. He is listening; maybe He is trying to hone our listening skills.
Thanks and God bless.

Colleen said...

Nancy, you are welcome. I know what you mean. I wish the same thing sometimes. But then I think of what Jesus said to Thomas - Blessed are those who believe but have not seen. We are blessed, Nancy!

Victor, I would fall off my chair too! :)

Maria, I want to be able to give Jesus a hug too. I often image that happening during my meditation after I receive communion. I like your answers from God. You are right. He never ignores us.

Mary, I understand about you missing this week. Never a problem. Life happens!! :)
Don't blame you for looking forward to some quiet! :)
Yes, you can link to my book. In fact, I would appreciate it very much!

Michael, thank you. Sometimes I say - Lord, I am going to do this and if it is not your will, please let me know!! Sometimes he does! God bless.

Karinann, I like what you said - "maybe God is trying to hone our listening skills." Thanks. God bless!

Jean Wise said...

Your post made me stop and think this week, Colleen. And the comments are all good too. I agree with Michael in many times God wants me to listen better, deeper - an area He is working within me recently.

Silence doesn't mean not present. Took me a long time to realize that. God is still with me even when I can't hear Him.

There are lots of lessons in this Gospel reading, aren't there?

Colleen said...

Jean, yes, there are a lot of lessons and so many ways to look at this! I like what you said here - "Silence doesn't mean not present." Amen!

Patty "Wilson" P said...

One of the most difficult intimate relationship we will ever have is our relationship with God. Because we can not physically touch him, hear him we must rely on other senses, Psalm 46:10 asks us to be still and know I am God.

Nancy, Victor, I would like to suggest something I do with my own directees; have you done an Ignatian guided scriptural meditation? While reading scripture you try to place yourself in the scene completely: the sights, smells, look of the people. Because scripture is a living message for us, and for always, we can place ourself in it. We can change names of those in scripture so that what we are reading comes to life for us directly.

It is the closet we will get until we see Jesus face to face; hope the suggestion helps.

Colleen said...

Patty, thank you for your comment and suggestions. God bless!

evanscove said...

The silence can be hard to handle--as I've learned all too well in the last few years. All kinds of questions race through my mind. Has God abandoned me? Am I being punished for my sins? Does God even care? Maybe on not one of His "favorites"?

Perhaps it is our faith being put to the test. I've grown up knowing the story of Peter walking on the water but starting to sink when he took his eyes off Christ and focused on the winds and waves around him. I've grown up having the lesson drilled into me that the story tells us the importance of not giving into fear and doubt during our hardships but to stay focused on the Lord. And while I have said that I believe in those things, I find my faith faltering when I'm the one beset by the tempest. Perhaps the stoney silence is not a sign of God's disapproval but His way of helping us see where our faith needs to be bolstered. Perhaps we are being "pruned" of imperfections so we may bear spiritual fruit.

Or Paul's lesson in 2 Cor. 12:7-10 is pertinent here: God is reminding us of our dependence on Him and His grace.

Anyway, it sounds like we can all relate to what you're talking about in your post. We may not like the silence, but it seems to be an inevitable, and even necessary, part of our spiritual development.

Evan

Colleen said...

Evan, thanks so much for your comment. The comments have been so inspiring here! I guess this subject of silence really affected people. God bless!

Barb Schoeneberger said...

A Bible quote I'm too lazy to look up right now tells us that God always gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want. So maybe the silence is to give us time to recognize that He is giving us what we need. He has the big picture and we have the little one. I am looking forward to heaven when I can see a bigger picture through God's eyes.

Kathleen Basi said...

Evans comments struck me, too. I just finished doing a series on anxiety a couple weeks ago, and throughout that process, I was begging God for answers and feeling that there never really was one. But sometimes I think we misinterpret our own blocks as God's silence. And sometimes I think silence *does* equal "not yet," or "wait, I have an answer for you, but you can't accept it right now, you have more growing to do first."

Colleen said...

Barb, amen!

Kathleen, it is like that saying, whenever we think God is not there, He is not the one who left. I wonder how often God speaks but we are not paying attention.