It may seem a bit childish, but I don’t like it when bad things happen to good people. So this week when one of the finest and fittest people I know suffered a stroke, I got angry.
I had quite the conversation (one-sided) with God. It started out as a neat little prayer. Then I questioned him. And please forgive me, I think I even lectured him. Yet God was silent.
Now if my behavior bothers you, don’t worry–it bothered me too. I labeled myself a hypocrite. I’m the author of the book Unwrapping Wonder: Finding Hope in the Gift of Nature, yet I teetered on the edge of hopelessness.
You need a time out, I chided myself, Get outside. So I hiked the river. I prayed in the forest. I pleaded with God. Psalm 19 declares that “the skies proclaim the work of his hands…day after day they pour forth speech,” yet I was deaf to his wonders.
And God remained silent.
My outside vigil continued. By Monday, sorrow hung from my shoulders. Nothing stirred—not in my heart, not in the trees.
Suddenly a breeze kicked up across the river, swept through the trees and washed over me.
My mind flashed upon 1 Kings 19, when Elijah, despondent over the turn of events in his life, sought the presence of the Lord.
Ultimately, Elijah found God’s presence where he least expected it:
- His presence wasn’t in a powerful wind.
- His presence wasn’t in the earthquake.
- His presence wasn’t in the fire.
The presence of God floated in on a whisper. And Elijah heard it.
I, too, sought the presence of God. I needed his touch to calm my anxious heart. In my frustration I had hiked God’s wilds and demanded answers. I know better. But sometimes our emotions get the best of us.
So while God’s voice didn’t boom “Everything will be okay,” nor did God text me the answers to my questions, the blessed breeze reminded me that God hears. God sees. And he answers. In his way. In his time.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55: 8-9
For now, I take comfort that God walks beside my bruised spirit and carries my hurting friend close to his heart.
In the meantime, I will abide. I will strive to remain patient in silence. And believe.
Please join me in praying for my friends Frank and Kerri during their time of need.
Have you experienced God’s silence? How have you endured such a time?