Updated: Mar 6, 2019
I recently ordered a new daily devotional book and of course vowed to spend time daily pouring over its pages hoping to hear something —anything— from God about what I was doing and whether it was “on track” or “in line” or “up to snuff” with His will for my life. My relationship with him had been so...scarce. At best, it felt tumultuous. So I was ready. Ready to hear from God. Really, I think I had come to the end of myself and was ready to consider up front and personal the looming thought that had been blaring in my ears for the last few months: “You’re not hearing from God because you have shut God out. That is why you feel distant from Him. That is why you can’t connect. That is why He isn’t showing His approval. You turned away. You shut Him out. You silenced Him.”
This fearful thought felt true to me. After all, I could not recall which had come first—had I stopped hearing from God or had I stopped listening for God? I spent so much time racking my brain to figure out the start of it all. It felt right to blame; and even more it felt right to be the one blamed. If I was right, and it was my fault, I could change it. I would surely try. I’d start with a devotional. In hindsight, I can now see that finding fault was not and is not as critical as it once felt.
The irony of it all is this: God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is consistent, scripture tells me. And in His consistency, He met me in all my doubt and fault at a shockingly loud volume with the idea of Silence.
I cracked open that daily devotional the day after I received it, hungry for even the slightest scrap, and the devotional lead with two Bible verses:
I wish I could share that I am the kind of person who read those verses and while donning my pearls, responded with poise and grace. But I’m not. To speak frankly—I may as well have been out back, hoofin’ around in my overalls hootin’ and hollerin’. In fact, I think I may have even hollered out of sheer shock and awe.
As it often goes when we eventually kneel before God in exhaustion, acknowledging we’re kaput, the gleaming last stitch effort, also known as the devotional, shined bright upon my very experience. Shocking, right?
At times it feels as though others are receiving little confirmations and notions of God’s great love for them. For some He meets them full of smiles and sings a sweet sonnet of joy and tenderness over them. For others, although less enthusiastic, He rests His hand at their shoulder accompanied with a glance of approval. It seems as though for me, He abruptly rushes by without word or glance, not stopping at all. It begs for my human brain to account for what others had done to receive God’s varying levels of approval and affirmation and what I had done to not.
I was stunned as I read and reread the devotional’s proposed response from God to this line of thinking, to MY line of thinking, “’O woman! How wrongly hast thou interpreted Me. The first kneeling woman needs all the weight of My tenderness and care to keep her feet in My narrow way. She needs My love, thought and help every moment of the day. Without it she would fail and fall. The second has stronger faith and deeper love, and I can trust her to trust Me however things may go and whatever people do. The third, whom I seemed not to notice, and even to neglect, has faith and love of the finest quality, and her I am training by quick and drastic processes for the highest and holiest service.”
Holy Moses. It was like my heart began to beat again. What if I am like the third woman? Could it be?! This third woman was someone I admired. The hope of it all welled my eyes. For the sake that you might find the same respite I did in these next words, I will copy them here:
"She knows Me so intimately, and trusts Me so utterly, that she is independent of words or looks or any outward intimation of My approval. She is not dismayed nor discouraged by any circumstances through which I arrange that she shall pass; she trusts Me when sense and reason and every finer instinct of the natural heart would rebel;—because she knows that I am working in her for eternity, and that what I do, though she knows not the explanation now, she will understand hereafter.”
Well then! You can bet I wrote that down and taped it to my mirror. These words offered to me seemed to unlock an alternative way of thinking, of believing, for me. I felt freed from the criticizing shame and my obsession to find the cause of it all. There was something so powerful about the possibility that the Silence I had been enduring with God was not at all representative of something I had done wrong. Considering that the Silence was something I had been braving in faith was like putting on a new pair of glasses. I could see again. Better yet, I could hear again. What's more, I was willing to listen to the Silence, even still.
Are you out here in the Silence with me? Do you hope to be like the third woman? Reach out, let’s explore this newfound understanding of God’s love together. Send me an email today.
I’ll leave you with this:
"I am silent in My love because I love beyond the power of words to express, or of human hearts to understand, and also for your sakes that you may learn to love and trust Me in Spirit-taught, spontaneous response to My love, without the spur of anything outward to call it forth."
Cassie Segerson, LPC-Intern, LCDC-Intern
Supervised by Leah McDill, PhD, LPC-S
512-238-1700 ext 317
*All excerpts are from Streams in the Desert, by L.B. Cowman