Silence, God’s character, God’s Word, sorrow, suffering, devotional, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Silent: Knowing God is Working Even in the Silence

There may be times where God appears distant, but we can breathe knowing He stays true to His word. He never leaves us and works even when He seems silent.



Remember that although God may be silent, He is not still.

Dr.Tony Evans

Silent God

Sometimes God is just hard to get. One moment, He is breaking into our lives with His glory and majesty, answering prayer left and right. We are “living the promises!”

YES, GIRL!

Then, the earth seemingly erupts beneath us and chaos ensues. Friends betray us. Illness strikes. Or, like St. John of the Cross, darkness falls across our souls like a damp fog.

The ceiling is made of iron.

The sky is brass.

Morning, afternoon, and evening our hearts cry out to God, but He does not answer. The situation remains unchanged. We may feel like C. S. Lewis after his wife died of cancer.

But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.

C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

I have felt this level of desperation before; although, I’m not proud to admit it – when our oldest son ‘disowned’ us during a crisis time in his late twenties; when my mother’s mental health was overwhelming me; when my migraines were relentless. I guess that is why it’s easy to become tearful when I hear Andrew Peterson’s song, The Silence of God:

It’s enough to drive a man crazy, it’ll break a man’s faith
It’s enough to make him wonder, if he’s ever been sane
When he’s bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the Heaven’s only answer is the silence of God

Andrew Peterson, The Silence of God

There may be times where God appears distant, but we can breathe knowing He stays true to His word. He never leaves us and works even when He seems silent. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #addiction #silence #GodsCharacter #GodsWord #sorrow #suffering

David

David certainly had moments of desolation, hearing nothing but God’s silence.

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? Oh my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

Psalm 22:1-2

When I was younger, I used every Christian ‘trick’ or equation I knew, to no avail. As with David in the Psalms, despite my pleas, promises, prayer, and meditation, God remained silent.

Be not silent, O God of my praise! For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

Psalm 109:1-5

Like David in the following verses, I stated my case before my Father, and like David, I have experienced silence. We’re not alone.

Abram

In Genesis 12:1-3, Abram was told to leave everything and everyone he knew because God wanted to give him a new land. In addition, God would use him and Sarai to become a great nation.

Years passed. No direct heir…not one. And while God spoke to Abram about other things, He was silent about that – for nearly twenty-five years.

Joseph

Joseph’s coat of many colors is a wonderful children’s Bible story. However, as adults, it’s important to remember that he was sold into slavery, (today we call it human trafficking), and was falsely accused in his owner’s house of sexually abusing the master’s wife. Joseph then sat in prison for two years before the dream he was shone at seventeen came to pass.

Do you wonder if Joseph had some unanswered questions for God during that all time?

Job

I would be remiss not to mention Job. He spends a great deal of time telling of his righteousness, but he grew frustrated and impatient at God’s silence in the face of his suffering.

I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me.

Job 30:20

If only God would answer!!

Isn’t that how we feel at times? Even if it isn’t the answer we want – please, just ANSWER!

Mary and Martha

I wonder if that is what Mary and Martha were thinking when their friend and Lord did not answer them? When He was told their brother, Lazarus, was very ill and didn’t immediately come to the rescue? Jesus didn’t even send word that He was on His way. In fact, John 11:17 reveals that Lazarus had been dead four days by the time Jesus arrived!

Silent or Not?

Other writers more learned and wiser than me have written about this topic. Many have expounded that this time of silence or darkness exposes our need for discipline, renewal, and/or repentance. No doubt these and more are pieces of the puzzle.

However, looking through the lens of a merciful, loving Father, I’m wondering if there is another aspect; if this silence is real or perceived. My feelings or experiences tell me He is absent, but God’s Word says that He is with me, (examples – Psalm 23:4; Deuteronomy 31:6). He will never leave me or forsake me.

Jesus told us He would not leave us as orphans in John 14:18-20. I love that; regardless of our biological heritage, Jesus will never abandon us.

So, what does this mean? Why the sense of silence or aloneness?

Well…according to Jon Bloom of desiringGod.org:

It is the mourning that will know the joy of comfort (Matthew 5:4). It is the hungry and thirsty that will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). Longing makes us ask, emptiness makes us seek, silence makes us knock (Luke 11:9).

Keep knocking, Sister. God hasn’t left you…and He never will.

When God seems silent, may we take this time to expose our need for discipline, renewal, or repentance. God's Word tells us He never leaves us, so keep knocking, keep seeking, He's there! Click To Tweet

There may be times where God appears distant, but we can breathe knowing He stays true to His word. He never leaves us and works even when He seems silent. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #addiction #silence #GodsCharacter #GodsWord #sorrow #suffering

*All Bible references are from the English Standard Version.
unsplash-logoYurii Khimanin
care, Holy Spirit, prayer, renew, silence, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Care: Caring for Our Whole Selves in a Godly Way

Self-care is a hot topic these days. It is difficult to assess what it looks like to take care of ourselves in a Godly way, but when we practice self-care we honor God and His incredible blessings. 



There are days when I do not feel like taking care of myself. Taking a shower doesn’t seem important, eating is not a priority, and even getting things done that will help relieve stress don’t happen. A lot of times I know that I need to be doing more to take care of myself, but I still choose to prioritize other things.

We hear so much every day about “self-care”, but what does that actually mean and what does that look like for a believer?

It is difficult to assess what taking care of ourselves in a Godly way is, but when we practice self-care we honor God and His incredible blessings. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #care #prayer #self-care #renew #scripture #devotional

Physical Care

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own

1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV

When we make the decision to be a Christian, we sacrifice our bodies. Our bodies become a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. When we look at our bodies as a temple, our perspective should change. We should crave to take care of our bodies. When we live in the mindset that our body is essentially the house of God we are forced to take care of it.

Caring for our temple comes by eating well, exercising, and having good hygiene. I am not saying that we all need to start dieting and going to the gym every single day. Trust me, I am the first to admit that I have terrible habits I need to work on. This message is as much for me as it is for you. What I am saying is that we need to all take steps to ensure that we are caring for the body that God gave and that the Holy Spirit dwells in.

Spiritual Care

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Mark 1:35, NIV

After a long day of preaching, healing, and casting out demons, Christ knew he needed to take care of himself spiritually. In that moment He practiced solitude and went to a place to pray. Jesus needed to be filled spiritually so that He could continue preaching and feeding into others the next day.

We must do the same. Part of everyday life is pouring into others. While that takes root in many ways, there is one thing that remains the same… We can not give from an empty cup. If we are not filled spiritually, we cannot lead spiritually. We have to take time to be alone with God. We need to hear from God on a regular basis. This not only gives us the ability to fill others, but it also helps us learn to hear the voice of God.

If we do not practice solitude and take care of ourselves spiritually, we can’t hear God’s voice. Listening requires attention and quiet. When we talk to a friend we don’t constantly look at our phone or interrupt the conversation to do something else, so why do we do this when spending time with God? We have to spend time with Him in order to be healthy and care for ourselves.

Mental Care

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test what God’s will is: his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2, NIV

Our mind should not be like that of the world’s we have to renew our minds. This leads to transformation, which leads to being able to know what God’s will is. Every minute of every day our mind has the opportunity to be distracted by something of the world. Whether it be a negative thought about ourselves, an advertisement, or something on social media, there is always a distraction available.

We need to practice mental self-care by freeing our mind from those distractions. When a lie pops into our head, we can replace it with God’s truth. As we watch TV and see an advertisement with a beautiful model, we can remember that we are uniquely created. When we see people’s picture perfect life on social media, we can remember that nobody is perfect and everyone has struggles. Our minds need to be focused on things of God that we may have a healthy mind.

Godly Self-Care

Caring for ourselves is crucial. There are many things out there that teach a skewed version of self-care. We need to focus on Godly self-care. When we take care of ourselves, we take care of the gift God gave us. Not caring for ourselves is a disservice to our Creator. How can you take care of yourself today?

There's a lot of confusion and skewed versions of self-care. We need to focus on Godly self-care and nurture the gift God gave us. Not caring for ourselves is a disservice to our Creator. Click To Tweet

It is difficult to assess what taking care of ourselves in a Godly way is, but when we practice self-care we honor God and His incredible blessings. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #care #prayer #self-care #renew #scripture #devotional
Evie Shaffer

silence, meditation, quiet, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Silence: Practicing Solitude to Truly Connect with the Lord

God can truly speak to us through any means necessary. However, the practice of silence and solitude is the most effective way to truly connect and hear from the Lord.  



But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.

Habakkuk 2:20, NLT

There’s been a running theme in our devotionals lately: breathe. Deep breath in, deep breath out. In fact, I can count 10 times this week alone that someone has said this to me. Granted, it was during x-rays, doctor visits, and other health scans. But, I also found myself just trying to calm my nerves with this technique.

I take a lot of deep breaths when I find myself in social situations. No matter how much I love those around me, my brain has a hard time with 3 different conversations, the kids playing, the TV going. Noise. There I go, retreating to the restroom for some silence.

It’s not to be taken personally by my friends or family. It’s just a quirk that will, most likely, never change. Even so, I often ask why I need to take so many deep breaths in a day. Why is this my reality?

Life is full of noise and distractions, making us long for silence. Here we discuss the most effective way to connect and hear from the Lord.  Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Noises of Life

Que: knock, knock, knock. “Mommy are you in there? I’m hungry. I want a snack.” 

I’m a wife, a mom, a homemaker, a partner in ministry. All of these labels take up most, if not all, of my daily time and energy. The sounds of the dishwasher running, phone conversations, children’s programs on the TV, instrumental music in my ear-buds all distract my mind and soul from complete silence.

My fellas don’t understand it now, but their noises of life wear me out. I live with a sweet four-year-old boy who makes around 5,987 different sounds in a day. Seriously, as I am trying to write this devotional, a Stormtrooper has been placed beside my keyboard. But, not before the soundtrack of live-action battle. I also have a six-year-old who requires a confidence boost in the morning and reading practice at night. I won’t mention how old my husband is, but he also requires conversation and a loud television (I’m not mad about it, really).

These are not “bad” reasons for the lack of solitude with God. They are my main missions in life and I am thankful every day for these beautiful responsibilities. However, being pulled in so many different directions causes my “deep breath” issue. I feel out of oneness with my Creator…

But if you give yourself to the Lord, you and Christ are joined together as one person.

1 Corinthians 6:17, TLB

Importance of Solitude

As I mentioned before, I’m a partner in ministry. Little did I realize, when starting to write for Oh Lord Help Us, keeping inspiration meant more quiet time with the Lord. And I don’t mean quiet time in reading or studying, I mean it in a way of doing nothing. A meditation of sorts.

It makes sense. Pastors often use solitude and silence to connect and hear from the Lord. It’s important for them. They are teachers of the word of God, thus they need to continually access that direct line to the Father.

It’s no different for Christian writers. We are, in a way, teachers too. We write about God’s truth and it reaches more than just a brick and mortar building of people. People all over the world continue to connect with us. So, when I say even us writers need solitude and silence to hear from the Lord, it’s absolutely true.

Silence Killers

It’s hard to find complete solitude when the world is throwing so much at us. Many distractions kill our silence: watch this, read this, listen to this song. It’s not comfortable to be bored, anymore. When is the last time you sat in a waiting room without looking at your phone? Or drove the car in complete silence? How about just sitting, without anything happening, noise or video?

I’m not saying God cannot speak to us through any means necessary. In fact, He has had to in my life, because finding me in a still, quiet state is rare. Think of this, when we are speaking with a friend or spouse about our hearts, we truly want their attention. If they were, say, watching TV or looking at their phone, we would know they are half in it.

The same is true in our relationship with God. He wants to interact with us unattached, disconnected and surrendered. To sit in complete freedom from the world: responsibilities and other devotions, interaction with other people, completely unplugged from technology. Completely.

God wants to interact with us unattached, disconnected and surrendered. To sit in complete freedom from the world. Click To Tweet

The Example of Jesus

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Luke 5:16, NIV

I often remind myself of Jesus’ example after feeding the 5000. He retreated to the mountain for solitude and prayer (Matthew 14:23). Now granted I’m only feeding 3 other mouths, but some days that’s a small miracle to me and I just want to retreat to the mountain of solitude with Jesus.

He had it right. He knew His work here on earth required a constant connection to the Father. So why would my Kingdom work require a different practice? If Jesus needed it, our humanity DEFINITELY needs a silent audience with God.

Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands.

Lamentations 3:28, NLT

Everyday Practice

Practice makes a habit. I have a feeling that practicing silence every day, will take care of my “deep breath” issue. Starting my day with solitude before the Lord will create effective, productive and calm Kingdom work. Deep breath in of the Spirit, heavy breath out of God’s truth.

Life is full of noise and distractions, making us long for silence. Here we discuss the most effective way to connect and hear from the Lord.  Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

forgive, forgiveness, pain

Forgiveness: Six Things We Can Do When the Pain Lingers

Forgiveness can be extremely hard and the pain feels like it will never subside. What can we do to heal, when the apology never comes? What does the Bible tell us about forgiveness and remorse?



Most of us learn about forgiveness and remorse early in life. In my experience, these two lessons work in tandem best when parents help mediate. (Especially when siblings are involved.) I was taught to apologize to my brothers, my parents, anyone I had hurt, to God. In turn, I learned to forgive those who had asked for forgiveness. As I got older, this lesson became harder. I did not comprehend, as a child, that some day forgiveness would be given even without an apology.

Honestly, I was under the impression that this tandem operation would be much more of a “thing”. Consequently, the less influence my parents had on my daily decisions, the harder it became to forgive and be forgiven. It was a challenging lesson as a child, and it’s even harder now. For me, it’s not the apologizing that’s difficult, it’s forgiving in spite of the pain. Especially, forgiving when the apology doesn’t happen. How do we transition toward a posture of healing when our pain goes unacknowledged?

Fresh into marriage, I learned the hard way that my husband could not read my mind. This is true for a majority of the population… we are not a clairvoyant species. Needless to say, the silent treatment got me nowhere. Indeed, the smarty, backhanded comments did NOT portray the hurt I was feeling. I had to learn how to, clearly and gently, communicate what I was upset about. When I was able to approach my husband in a posture of forgiveness, it made it easier for him to understand my pain and truly apologize.

 

Forgiveness: What the Bible says…

Forgiveness can be extremely hard and the pain feels like it will never subside. What can we do to heal, when the apology never comes? What does the Bible tell us about forgiveness and remorse?

 

Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently.  Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Colossians 3:12-13, TLB

 

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you…

Matthew 6:14, ESV

 

Whoa! We have to suffer “quietly and patiently”, ever “ready to forgive”. Why? God COMMANDED us to forgive, anyone and everyone so that we, too, could receive forgiveness. Commanded. It’s not easy, it’s not fun, and it doesn’t seem fair. For us, forgiveness is usually second in line to our grief and we let it stay there until WE are ready. When the pain subsides, then we forgive. However, God is just and His timing is perfect. FIRST forgive, THEN cast your heartache on the Lord for He will mend you.

 

Give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry them. He will not permit the godly to slip or fall.

Psalm 55:22TLB

 

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

1 Peter 5:7, NLT

FIRST forgive, THEN cast your heartache on the Lord for He will mend you. Click To Tweet

 

Forgiveness can be extremely hard and the pain feels like it will never subside. What can we do to heal, when the apology never comes? What does the Bible tell us about forgiveness and remorse?

 

Forgiveness: What to do…

I’ve found that healing of the mind and heart can take some time. All types of emotions creep in, during this season: anger, bitterness, sadness, self-pity. How do we handle these in a healthy manner? The list below contains methods that I have personally used during times of healing in order to combat these ugly emotions…

Throw some rocks

Living in the country has its perks. I do not recommend throwing rocks if you are surrounded by a lot of neighbors. Otherwise, they will have to forgive you for a broken window. Alternatively, wetting some paper towels and throwing them at your shower wall bears the same result. But, rocks are fun.

Write it out and burn it

Seriously, this is awesome. Get it all out; the messy, fractured emotions. It is pain, leaving the mind, through the hand. Fire destroys the negativity, physically and symbolically.

Exercise

Exercise is self-explanatory. I have found, being physically active can help release ugly feelings. Make sure it is something you actually enjoy doing. Turning on some upbeat music and having a solo dance party, can shake those negative emotions right out.

Wake up early to pray

Oh my gosh! Sleep is so precious. However, losing a few minutes of sleep replenishes our souls. Waking up 10-15 minutes earlier to pray for those who have hurt you, will bless you and them! “ Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:28, NLT)

Talk it out

Connect with someone you trust and talk it out! Your spouse, a friend, a pastor, a counselor, someone who knows your intentions and your heart.

Don’t dwell

Devotions, scripture, music, podcasts, hobbies, subjects you love; all these things should occupy your mind as to not dwell on the pain. I discovered that the longer I would dwell, the longer the pain stuck around.


The break away…

Just this evening, as I was finishing up this post, God gave me opportunity to follow through on His command. There was a disagreement, with hurtful words thrown around. In that moment, I failed the test. I was hurt and was not quick to forgive. Boy, will I remember this night. Not because of the pain, but because of the shame. I let God down and did not heed his commandment. How can I write these words for you and not live it out?! Praise the Lord for His grace!

What about you? Is there pain getting in the way of you forgiving? In what ways have you coped during a healing process?


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

Forgiveness can be extremely hard and the pain feels like it will never subside. What can we do to heal, when the apology never comes? What does the Bible tell us about forgiveness and remorse?

ORNELLA BINNI