Hope Discovery of the Day:
God is often found in silent moments, by those willing to search for Him and not just His answers.
Scripture of the Day:
1 Kings 18:37
“Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
Watching my daughter sleep with a tube up her nose, my heart was broken. Crying out to God on behalf for her healing, I fell to my knees, engulfed by the silence around me. Over and over again I watched her suffer and for seven years tried to find the answer. Doctor after doctor guessed at the cause for her suffering, with no real answers. When I sought the heart of God, it just seemed silent. The day the LORD revealed that my oldest daughter had Celiac Disease was such an answer to prayer. I was grateful we had an answer – a target to aim at for her recovery. While God still has not removed this burden from her, He met us in that season and gave us an answer that offered hope. All the days and years of perceived silence God was accomplishing something greater, all the while.
God answers in a way we don’t often expect. Our expectations can become so high we are desperate for the LORD to hear and respond. Now. It is difficult to understand when circumstances are not aligning with what we define as “good” and even more difficult when it seems that God is taking His time.
But there is a purpose much deeper than getting what I want, even when the desire is a good desire. It is in seeking to glorify God in our messy life moments that we gain a higher perspective. His answers to our deepest needs are not just for us, but for those around us to see a Holy God moving on our behalf.
Ezekiel was a mighty man of God. Ravens fed him. Rain stopped when he said so. He was so close to God. To be the one lone living prophet whom Jezebel had not killed (except for the prophets who were hidden) was, to say the least, a fearsome position to be in. But he did incredibly bold deeds and God answered him in mighty ways.
Ezekiel could have questioned why he had to suffer, but instead, he looked to his God. Standing before 450 prophets of Baal, Ezekiel challenged them to a duel of epic proportions. Their god against the God. And he even gave the advantage – they got to go first and Ezekiel handicapped himself by dumping a ton of water (during a drought, nonetheless) on his sacrifice. God honors when we boldly step out in faith for Him. Ezekiel was doing exactly what God told him to do and God answered in a mighty way.
The fruit of Ezekiel’s obedience and boldness was astonishing. ALL the people threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and said, “The LORD is the true God! The LORD is the true God!” It was not for Ezekiel’s fame, but God’s alone – that people might come to know Him. But there was a lot of groundwork laid before Ezekiel went and confronted the prophets of Baal.
We can look at this moment in Ezekiel’s life and wonder why God does not move in that way in our own lives. Or maybe we look at other people around us and think the same thing. Elisha was zealous to have the LORD use him like Elijah did, too. But there was a lot of groundwork laid before Ezekiel went and confronted the prophets of Baal. A lot of seeking God in the silent moments and painful ones, too – including when he was fleeing for his life and craving death – but God met Him in those moments and transformed Ezekiel into the man he needed to be for the work God had called him too.
Ezekiel’s boldness reminds me of similar moments God has provided for me on a much smaller scale. When I was at the University of Maryland many years ago, I accepted the LORD as my Savior and had many opportunities to share God’s faithfulness. I was mocked for my faith and persecuted. On one occasion, in particular, I was surrounded after class and asked why I was so “pure”. The people all crowded and circled around me as if to intimidate me. God gave me a boldness to speak with them that day, but when I walked away I tripped (only me) and sprained my ankle. In that moment, I looked up to God and He instantaneously healed me. I walked away unharmed. I also had professors who persecuted me for my faith and mocked me in class. God showed up in amazing ways there, too. When we are attacked for our faith, God meets us at our pain points and gives us grace and boldness to stand – so others may come to see this Almighty God Who is our strength.
What is the difference between when it seems God answers and when He doesn’t? The will of God. Sometimes He delivers our desires and sometimes he does not, but in both scenarios, He is answering and His purposes are always good. And He is never late. The question is whether or not we will glorify God when the answer is not what we wanted or when we wanted it. By His grace alone, yes.
When God seems silent, we can choose to draw nearer and to trust in His promises. God is often found in the silent moments, by those willing to search for Him and not just His answers. Perhaps silence is a way of inviting us to come closer to learn and understand His heart, rather than just seek Him to get what we want.
When we are faced with our own times of desperation and we need God to answer, He is glorified when the answer works in our favor and when it doesn’t appear to. Proclaiming God’s greatness when life seems unfair takes our focus and turns it to where it was meant to be – off of ourselves and onto God’s greater purposes. The quiet spaces of life when we feel forgotten can become intimate times with God that end up being the very preparation we need for a future work of God.