Listening to His Silence
Transitions aren’t always necessarily about getting from Point A to Point B. Sometimes, transitions are just about resting. Now by rest, I don’t mean not doing anything. True rest can be so much more than that. It can be a time of new beginnings and redirection - if we are willing to surrender.
God often allows for a period of silence, stillness and un-answered prayers because He is calling us to a time of trust and rest.
Trust is so much harder than it sounds, because it requires faith that has been refined. True rest comes by listening to the Lord. Learn to listen - even when it may appear that He is silent. His silence might just be the answer.
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. -Exodus 14:14 (ESV)
Some versions use the word “still” instead of “silent,” yet I love the use of silent because it is insinuating what happens when we are silent. When we aren’t speaking, our ears are far more apt and ready to receive. When I am not constantly blabbing on and on to the LORD about all my wants, dreams and desires (as if He doesn’t already know them), I can actually hear what He has to say about them. It seemed that in these last few months the Lord had nothing to say about my dreams. But had I paid more attention to the fact that He was wanting me to be still and silent - I would have accepted earlier that His silence was telling me to stay where I was. This was where He wanted me.
When I got home from the World Race in late November of last year, I was ready to take on the rest of the world. I had plans - and I don’t even tend to be a planner. But I was excited and looking forward to a life the I imagined in my head; one where I was more than anything, not in my hometown of Tucson, Arizona. Now while there’s certainly no place like home, I was constantly accompanied by this feeling that my life was beyond this desert town. Somehow, I convinced myself that God certainly didn’t want me here.
I want to take a brief pause from my story to look at Esther. Many lessons can be gleaned from the small snippet of her life that we see, but I want to point out the fun fact that the name of God is not once mentioned in the entire book of Esther. But God was not absent from Esther’s life, He was merely silent. Esther knew what had to be done, and she prayed and sought comfort from her God. God’s purpose for her was clear because He placed her in that palace and He allowed for her to become a queen. From the thousands of women who could have been in her shoes - she was chosen. God made her queen because only Esther, His daughter, could accomplish His purposes in the situation she was in. Esther prayed and fasted, and God rewarded her obedience and bravery.
And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? -Esther 4:14b (ESV)
Esther didn’t exactly choose to be in the palace and become Queen. This wasn’t like The Bachelor where you willingly audition. Esther was placed where God wanted her, and from there, her purpose became clear. Wherever you happen to be right now, God placed you there for a purpose, even if that purpose is not clear - even if it seems like He is silent.
I came back to my hometown wanting to leave, and when I didn’t, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. This was not exactly my first choice. I felt like God was distant or maybe had forgotten about my dreams. I constantly had to go back to Scripture to search for His promises:
The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries His son, all the way that you went until you came to this place. -Deuteronomy 1:30-31
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. -Psalm 62:1-2
If I would just offer it all up to the Lord, He would lead in a way I couldn’t even imagine. So, I did. Not all at once, but I began to accept that the Lord was at work in ways I could not see yet. First, He gave me a new job at Starbucks, when I had given up hope they would actually call me back. Second, the Lord lead me to a new church, where I finally felt like I was being rejuvenated and the presence of the Lord was manifested. He even opened the doors for me to join the boxing gym I had wanted to join for years but never committed to out of lack of motivation or nervousness. Little by little, the Lord showed me that He was indeed doing a new thing, something that I never imagined happening where I grew up. I was no longer just existing here, I was living here.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. -Isaiah 43:19
Living in the heart of one of the most beautiful deserts in the world, this passage speaks volumes to me. His silence is not definite, it always has a purpose. He brings everything that is meant to be to pass. With this in mind, I want to leave you with a beautiful example of a fulfilled promise in the Bible. In Zechariah 9:9 we see a picture of Jesus, hundreds of years before he was even born:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is her, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The period of time between the Old and New Testament is commonly known as the “400 years of silence.” But as we see in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the silence was not forever. The silence was merely a time to wait on what was coming. Salvation was coming.
Whatever it is that you are waiting or hoping for, there is a purpose for the waiting.
Fast forward to John 12:12-16, to Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, days before He is to be crucified. Verse 14 tells us, “just as it is written…” with a reference back to Zechariah’s prophecy. In verse 16, we see that, “His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about Him and had been done to Him.”
Sometimes, we do not understand things at first either. But remember, daughter of God, that your King is here with you, He is coming to you, and He is fighting for you.