Monday, February 20, 2017

The Mystery of His Silence




And a Canaanite woman from that region came to Him, crying out,
 “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is miserably possessed by a demon.” 
But Jesus did not answer a word.
Matthew 15:22-23



"It may be a child of God is reading these words who has had some great crushing sorrow, some bitter disappointment, some heart-breaking blow from a totally unexpected quarter. You are longing for your Master's voice bidding you "Be of good cheer," but only silence and a sense of mystery and misery meet you --"He answered her not a word."...

"Why art thou cast down, O… soul?" Thou shalt yet praise Him, yes, even for His silence. Listen to an old and beautiful story of how one Christian dreamed that she saw three others at prayer. As they knelt the Master drew near to them.

As He approached the first of the three, He bent over her in tenderness and grace, with smiles full of radiant love and spoke to her in accents of purest, sweetest music. Leaving her, He came to the next, but only placed His hand upon her bowed bead, and gave her one look of loving approval. The third woman He passed almost abruptly without stopping for a word or glance.

The woman in her dream said to herself, "How greatly He must love the first one, to the second He gave His approval, but none of the special demonstrations of love He gave the first; and the third must have grieved Him deeply, for He gave her no word at all and not even a passing look.
"I wonder what she has done, and why He made so much difference between them?" 

As she tried to account for the action of her Lord, He Himself stood by her and said: "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.
"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.
"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."

He "will do marvels" if you will learn the mystery of His silence, and praise Him, for every time He withdraws His gifts that you may better know and love the Giver."

--Selected -  Streams in the Desert


I read this entry one evening during my devotions and was struck profoundly by the story of the three women.

Because I could relate to one of them...

Let me back up...

I am my own worst critic believe Satan's lies.  So often I feel unworthy and downright uncomfortable when people praise my walk with Jesus.  Because they don't truly know me...  The person I can be when I'm alone...  The person I am too often when I am at work...  The person I am when self takes over...  The person who does not always walk with Jesus...

This struggle carries on when I try to understand why the Lord is always so gracious to me, ESPECIALLY when He consistently gives me the desires of my heart; desires I have prayed for... Desires I don't feel I deserve...

As many of you know, my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter lived with me and my husband for almost three years.  Right around this time last year, my daughter and son-in-law began looking in earnest for a home to purchase.  They went to look at many houses; houses that were "far away", to me anyway, when they had lived under my roof for so long.

My daughter loves our hometown and if it were possible, would have chosen to live here...  But houses in their price range would be difficult to find.   So they focused their search in areas where the housing prices were cheaper.

Yet I continued to pray that the Lord would open up a home in town.   After my daughter and son-in-law experienced one disappointment after another the housing market seemed to come to a screeching halt in the towns they were focusing on.  I continued to pray that the Lord would open up a home in our town...

And then one day, He did!  A house that was just three minutes from my own became available and it had everything that they were looking for in a house.  My daughter made an appointment the morning after it went on the market.  My son-in-law had to work so I tagged along to go look at the house.  It was immaculate inside!  It just seemed too good to be true.   The next day my son-in-law was able to go view the house with my daughter.  He loved it!  Something, to be honest, I wasn't expecting because it didn't have the large yard and quiet neighborhood that he was hoping for.   Even though they both liked the house, they just weren't as comfortable with the price and decided to pass.  I was proud of them for passing up a house that would have stretched them financially and instead chose to be good stewards with their money, no matter how much it would have been amazing to have them live so close...

Later that afternoon the realtor called and asked them what they were willing to pay for the house. My daughter told the amount to the realtor and the sellers quickly agreed to accept that price!  A house that seemed too good to be true and impossible for them to get, was now going to be theirs!

The Lord had not only heard my prayer, but granted me the desire of my heart above and beyond what I hoped or imagined!

To be totally transparent here, I will actually sit and ponder these types of answers to prayer and wonder why I have been so specifically blessed.

I'm sure you would tell me their are many reasons why God has blessed me...  And deep down, I know these things too...

Delight yourself in the LORD,
 and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

The LORD your God is in your midst,
 a mighty one who will save; 
he will rejoice over you with gladness; 
he will quiet you by his love;
 he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
 how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:11

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, 
that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
1 John 5:14

For by grace you have been saved through faith. 
And this is not your own doing; 
it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:8

 Yet I see incredibly sweet souls who just exude Jesus, but have all manner of trial come upon them, the Lord answering not a word...

I think the reason I have struggled with why my prayers have been answered so wonderfully, yet those I know who walk so closely with the Lord seem to have prayers go unanswered, because early on in my Christian walk, a Pastor had once said that "God does not hear prayers when their is unconfessed/unrepentant sin in our lives.

But I absolutely know we do not earn answers to prayer.

Now I think you can see why the story of the three women's encounter with God was so profound to me...  And which woman I could relate to...  

It was the first woman...  The woman God "bent over in tenderness and grace, with smiles full of radiant love and spoke to her in accents of purest, sweetest music."  The woman that God explained  "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."

A good part of my time since becoming a Believer has been spent with long seasons of intently studying God's word whether it was preparing 4th Grade Sunday School lessons, facilitating a lady's Bible study group, preparing devotionals to be presented at Mothers of Preschoolers and currently  this blog.   Yet something Beth Moore said rings true for me...  She had shared that someone had   commented to her that "the Lord must think very highly of you to have you in full-time women's ministry."   She responded that she "believes the Lord has her working in full-time ministry to keep her on the straight and narrow.  Otherwise, she would "fail and fall"..."

I realize that the story of the three women is just a story, but a thought-provoking one none-the-less.

No matter what woman you can relate to in the story above, God's love surrounds each one/each of you to ensure that she/you will NOT fail or fall...

I recently started reading the book of 2 Thessalonians, and I am finding a common theme throughout the chapters...

Our walk of obedience is dependent solely upon Him!


To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling
 and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,  
so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, 
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

God will fulfill every resolve for good and every work
 BY HIS POWER.



Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, 
who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 
comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

It is the Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father who 
ESTABLISHES every good work and word in our lives.



 But the Lord is faithful. 
He will establish you
 and guard you against the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:3

The Lord will ESTABLISH us and 
GUARD us against the evil one.


Oh what encouragement is found in these verses!  Oh what freedom to know that it is God who works in {us}, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

So whether you are hearing from God all the time or He has not answered you a word, take encouragement from the stories above that it is the Lord who increases your faith by His loving activity in your life which takes many different forms (some seen and some not seen), and serves many different purposes; always for your good and never for your harm.  

Take comfort!  Your Heavenly Father is ALWAYS active in your life, even when He seems silent.


May the Lord increase our faith to be like the third woman, who is "not dismayed nor discouraged by any circumstances through which {God} arrange(s) that she shall pass; {who} trusts {God} when sense and reason and every finer instinct of the natural heart would rebel;--because she knows that {God} is working in her for eternity, and that what {He} does, though she knows not the explanation now, she will understand hereafter.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up



18 comments:

  1. Oh, dear friend! How I needed to read this today! I sat here amazed, because I JUST related this very story to dear Zach just the other day! I was so blessed to see that you had shared it here. It is so hard to understand when God is silent...it just makes one feel SO abandoned. I have been writing a blog post about this very subject, and I hope to finish it one day. Your precious words, both here and on my blog, are just so dear to my heart. You are such a blessing to me, and I just love and appreciate you dearly. God bless you abundantly, my dear friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my! I LOVE how the Lord is knitting us together!

      Cheryl, your precious words always mean so much to me and bring me such encouragement. You truly make me feel loved and appreciated. I love you my friend.

      Delete
  2. What a beautiful answer to prayer! I KNOW that pastor was wrong. God ALWAYS hears our prayers. Sometimes, he can't act on them because of unconfessed sin in our lives--things we need to repent and lessons we need to learn, but God ALWAYS hears us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed it was! :-)

      It is always so comforting to know that no matter what our state, the Lord will never leave us or forsake us, but will work in us to confess and repent so that His blessings will abound.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I appreciate it.

      Delete
  3. Refreshing Words shared through a humble vessel! Thank you for that refreshing drink of faith ;) Visiting via #TeaandWord Tuesday

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karla, Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement.

      You are welcome. Your words have blessed me. :-)

      Delete
  4. This story is beautiful! I've just been through a period of my life being that first woman, as I needed all the help I could get! I do love the deep meaning through the story. Great things to ponder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cherie, Thanks so much for sharing in the conversation here. I appreciate it.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! :-)

      Delete
  5. That is a interesting story. I find it a blessing to read it today. Thank you for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you were blessed.

      You are very welcome! :-)

      Delete
  6. This is indeed the deepest kind of faith. Thanks for the inspirational post on the #LMMLinkup this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, You are very welcome.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. :-)

      Delete
  7. God's Word is our strength and song no matter the circumstances. I wonder if he has more to teach those who don't get the answers they pray for?? All of faith.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue, Amen!

      Hmm. Something to ponder for sure.

      Thanks for stopping by. :-)

      Delete
  8. What encouragement I got from this. I was down on myself for years too, and still get there at times. His mercy is so big! I love the story of the three women - wow. What a testimony to God's goodness here. My friend recently found out her car was going to cost $800 to fix, beyond their budget...and she felt called to specifically pray for God to lower the bill. He did. The next day they called and said they gave the wrong amount and it was cut in half!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meg, I am so glad you were encouraged. Thank you so much for sharing here and adding to the conversation. I appreciate it very much!

      Delete
  9. Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com! It is very encouraging.
    Tina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tina, You are very welcome!

      It blesses me that you were encouraged. :-)

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment.