January 24, 2013

The Waiting

In conversation yesterday, a young lady I've known for awhile was sharing with me about some new direction in her life. Looking for a church home and searching for some friends that she could connect with as a Christian, she's felt quite a bit of conflict. While she feels like the Lord has answered some of what she's been asking him for guidance and direction over, in other areas she just seems to be waiting. And waiting some more. She told me, "I've told God, 'I'm listening. Whatever it is you want to tell me - wherever it is you want to lead me - I'm all ears!'." Have you been there before? Have you had this conversation with Him:

Hey God. I'm here. I'm listening. 

And the waiting begins.
And the waiting continues.
And the waiting just seems to go on and on and on.....

Why does the Lord work this way? Why does He choose to speak - or often remain silent - the way He does? If we're open, tuned in, ready and willing to listen and to hear, then why doesn't He crank out the answers or the message? I there's a couple of reasons He chooses to allow the silence to linger.

First off, I think there are times we THINK we're ready for the answer, and we're still miles - maybe even hemispheres - away from actually being willing to submit and follow the direction the Lord places in front of us. Think about it: How many directions and instructions has Christ already placed in front of us that we continually ignore, as if He must have been talking to someone else? Are we telling others about what He's done in our lives? Are we ever inconvenienced from going out of our way to feed the poor or take care of someone's basic needs? Have we done anything to actively and tangibly LOVE our neighbors? Are we faithfully giving to the Church and living generous lives? If no, then how is it we're perplexed when God doesn't deliver further instructions? Check out these verses for more on this subject:

Luke 12:48 (35-48)
If we're not faithful with what we've already been given, why are we struck dumbfounded when we're not given more?

Matthew 7:7-13 
If you're praying for God's will, what if what you're asking isn't actually His will. What if the answer is "No"?

Another possibility as to why God sometimes remains silent - why He doesn't send us the neon sign or the lighted arrow pointing in the direction we're looking for - is because He's aware that as soon as He speaks - as soon as He answers - we'll stop listening. I think there's a reason why God came to Elijah (1 Kings 19) not in the wind or an earthquake or a fire, but in a whisper. He wanted Elijah to listen. And while the instructions He was going to give Elijah - WHAT He was going to tell him to do - was important, God was much more concerned with WHO he was becoming. God speaks to instruct us...but He remains silent to refine us. When we're waiting, He is refining.

This doesn't mean that the waiting and the praying will be any easier, but what an awesome thing to know that God's silence in no way implies God's absence. So don't grow weary from waiting. Don't grow impatient in praying. 
The waiting and praying are refining us.
So keep seeking, knocking, and asking. 
And be ready.

What are you praying for? What are you waiting on God to do?

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