Understanding the Wait
Up until A Time to be Silent was posted Tuesday the 12th of June (2018) in the beginning of a new day, there had been silence from me. No writing went forth whatsoever. It was over five weeks ago (about June 6th) that it had been placed upon my heart to begin to write again.
When I began this article, I had put “nearly two days ago”; then, “nearly a week ago”; then, I had to change it again to “nearly three weeks ago”; “nearly five weeks”…well, you get the idea. The days speedily ticked by. It is now six weeks ago.
This article may start off slow, but it will build momentum. Please bear with me, and may the Lord be glorified through it all.
Over the past weeks (in June), off and on throughout the day and night, I earnestly prayed about many things and waited upon the Lord. At great lengths, it seemed I waited and waited…and waited still more. I have often said that our Sovereign Creator, our Redeemer and King, is silent sometimes. He has every right to be. He is God after all.
The Lord’s silence is not punishment or chastisement, as some would teach or mislead others to believe. Rather, it is part of God’s character, which is often demonstrated throughout the Bible. After receiving two prophetic dreams from God, Joseph spent 13 years in Egypt with no word from God.
During those long and difficult seasons of his life where he had to wait, the closest Joseph came to hearing from God was when he received the interpretation of two individual dreams from two fellow prisoners. They were but two of the top officials that served Pharaoh; one being his personal cupbearer, the chief of the butlers, and the other being the chief of the bakers.
[…] And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me them, I pray you. (Joseph asked the men to tell him their dreams.) [vs 8]
Not once is it written that God spoke to Joseph during those years. Imagine. After Potiphar’s wife, the temptress, falsely accused him, Joseph was cast into an Egyptian dungeon and had an iron collar put around his neck, and shackles that were so tight they hurt his feet. [Gen 40:15; Ps 105:17-19] How long he was kept in these we do not know, but we do know that he ended up having favour in the eyes of the keeper of the prison. [Gen 39:21]
So much so that Joseph was appointed to serve the cupbearer and the baker whilst they were in prison. Obviously at that point, Joseph was no longer fettered or bound in chains. It was considered an honour and privilege to serve the officials of the king (Pharaoh) of the land, if and when they were imprisoned.
Royal officers were kept in a place where only the king’s (Pharaoh’s) prisoners were kept, that being in the house of the captain of the guards. It is also the part of the prison where Joseph was kept. [Gen 39:20, 21]
Did Joseph hear anything from the Lord God during those years, or did he have more prophetic dreams? The understanding and interpretation of the individual dreams of the cupbearer and baker were placed within Joseph’s spirit by the Lord.
Aside from that and according to the biblical records, the answer is no. God remained silent during those years of Joseph’s imprisonment. Was God involved? We know that He was because all that Joseph set his hand to prospered, and he had favour in the eyes of Potiphar, his master, and the keeper of the prison. [Gen 39:2, 5-6]
What about Abraham as he waited for the son of promise? We see where God spoke to him initially when He first made the covenant with Abraham [Gen 12:4-5], but then ten years of silence passed. [Gen 16:3] After Ishmael was born, the Lord appeared to Abraham to renew His covenant. Thirteen years of silence would then pass before the Lord spoke again, saying that at the same time the following year, Sarah would give birth to their son. [Gen 17:1]
How about when Jesus the Messiah was in the desert wilderness being tempted by Satan? There is no record of the Father speaking to Him or any angel ministering to Christ during those forty days of fasting and temptation. [Mat 4:1-11; Lk 4:1-13] There are plenty of examples of God’s silent times with His people, including His only begotten Son, Jesus/Yeshua.
If you are experiencing a season of silence with the Lord God, know that you are in good company. Many, including Jesus, experienced it. Even upon the cross, in what was the most desperate, painful and brutal time of Jesus’ life, God was silent.
God will speak through His Word, by His Spirit, and in any other way or through whomsoever He chooses. Wait on Him.
Unto You will I cry, O Lord my rock; be not silent to me; lest, if you be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto You, when I lift up my hands toward Your holy oracle. [Ps 28:1, 2]
Keep not You silence, O God: hold not Your peace and be not still, O God.
So that they (mighty men) cause the cry of the poor to come unto Him, and He hears the cry of the afflicted. He gives quietness (silence), who then can make trouble? And when He hides His face, who then can behold Him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only; [Job 34:28, 29]
One thing we all must learn as disciples of Jesus. God is silent at times. Throughout His written word we can find numerous examples. Yes, sometimes it was due to sin, and at times a part of His longsuffering (patience with sinful people). But there are times were it is to test the heart to see what is in it. Other times, His silence is unexplained in scripture.
How often have we heard someone say, “I don’t want to talk about it right now”, or “I will say (speak) no more on this matter”, or “I can’t answer that right now”? How often have we asked a question of another, only to be met with their silence?
Silence happens, and it is not necessarily a negative thing. It is written in book of Ecclesiastes: […] there is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
If we can accept the fact that there are indeed times of silence, both with man and with God, we will learn to embrace (accept) it, and patiently wait the time out. This is something that I must remind myself of as well, especially in the times where I need answers quickly.
Here is my thought, and yes, it is a thought, but also part of my understanding. It has seemed to me that in the times of God silence, He has been molding me into Christ’s image. It is often a time of growing and learning. It is a time of refining as well.
Am I always “okay” with God’s silence? I wish I could say an emphatic ‘yes’, but I cannot. My flesh can get in the way and be obstinate, but again, like all of God’s people, I too continue to progress in my walk, even if slowly or awkwardly at times. God is most patient.
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. [Jn 14:1] (Jesus’ words)
Now It Begins
What time I am afraid, I will trust in You. [Ps 56:3]
Now I come to the hard and more difficult part of this piece of work. I hesitated in sharing the following, and even struggled with how to present it, but if in any way the telling of it can help another, then may it be so and may Jesus be glorified.
The delay in the writing of this article began as one thing after another happened, much like a domino effect. For now, I will back up to April, when the flu had come back upon me for a second round. The first bout of the flu struck several of us in two neighbouring towns back in late February (2018), lasting between three to six weeks.
For five weeks I suffered relentless fatigue and breathing problems that became worse as each week passed. It was so laborious by the third week that I finally went to the doctor, only to have my suspicion confirmed. Pneumonia had developed.
Another course of antibiotics was prescribed (the first round was for the flu itself), along with an inhaler. The latter produced such intense coughing episodes in me that when it happened, the extreme pressure caused temporary urinary incontinence. Troubling, indeed!
After a week of putting up with the embarrassing consequences, I discontinued using the inhaler. In less than two weeks, the violent coughing stopped and has not returned, thus also ending the incontinence. However, with this particular strain of flu, the slightest exertion also made breathing a strenuous and laborious experience.
It seemed to affect everyone this way, no matter what the age group was. Yet, I had experienced that extreme in breathing once before several years ago (2013), when I developed pneumonia when living in Georgia, USA.
Back then, I could not walk six feet from the kitchen sink to the fridge without stopping to catch my breath. I suddenly realized what some old people must feel like. The same was happening again. It was all so humbling, so frightening. Each occurrence of pneumonia has made me more susceptible to it.
I had thoughts that perhaps my purpose was served. Being unwell for a couple of months with the flu, pneumonia and then a relapse of flu, there were times that I thought my time on earth was up. The last episode lasted nearly two full months, from April to mid-June. When I first returned to Canada in 2014, a case of pneumonia lasted four months. In the third month, I was coughing up blood and thought then also that I was going to die.
However, in June, breathing had finally stabilized, and the fatigue that had me sleeping anywhere from 16-18 hours a day (catching sleep only a few hours at a time) was dissipating noticeably. It is not for sympathy that I write these things, but rather to reveal that I was already in a weakened state physically.
Be that as it may, a sense of well-being finally came upon me. I was beginning to regain strength. Hope that I would survive shone brighter. I was able to post another long-awaited article. But just when I was almost out of the woods health-wise, my financial situation took an unexpected, sudden nosedive. I had helped someone very close to me out financially.
No sooner had I done so then unexpected expenses cropped up. How could this be? Everything was fine. What happened? I did not think that going without food would be an issue since I have disciplined my body to fast. Even still, there is a difference when one plans to go without food, such as with fasting, and when one must go without because there are no funds or means. Even my vehicle has sat…on empty.
When the World Comes Crashing Down
Then, five weeks ago, almost immediately after being swamped with the financial hardship, I received news that turned my life upside down. A very tragic and serious occurrence had taken place involving an immediate family member.
It had a ripple effect, devastating two families and the close friends and acquaintances of both. One innocent moment can change history and lives. I cannot go into details at this time, but suffice it to say, it crushed me to a degree beyond imagination – and not only me, but everyone close to those involved in the tragedy. A sense of absolute helplessness and grief enveloped me.
It seemed I was hit from every angle, and pain struck the very core of my being, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Why? Was the tragic event not enough that I must also get hit on every side? My flesh cried out in its misery. It was also at that very time that my health took a turn for the worse again, not with my lungs, but with other parts of my body. Pain…
The writing of this article was the furthest thing from my mind. When the shock wore off several days after the initial news was received, the numbness gave way to overwhelming and paralyzing bewilderment, grief, sorrow, confusion, frustration, and even anger. Why was all this happening? Then, out of nowhere, unfounded lies, accusations and verbal attacks began.
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of the hosts. [Is 6:5]
There were days when I avoided everyone, ignoring incoming calls and texts, avoiding the computer, refusing to go out if I did not have to. I needed the time with the Lord. Yet when I went to pray, I didn’t know what to say. All I could do was travail and weep. What a violent storm – winds howling, beating against me; the brutal waves of the storm were ruthless, relentless, without mercy!
When I did have to go out, I had snapped at strangers; emotions were unstable. Immediately ashamed, remembering that I am a Christian, I would apologize, but why was I acting out like that? One day it seemed as though I had a handle on things, and the next day I would nearly lose control, fiercely fighting the threat of a burst of tears even in public places. It seemed that in anything I said or did, I was messing up. It was an emotional rollercoaster and I wanted off, but it seemed there was no end in sight.
And the rain descended, and the floods (torrents) came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Various scriptures and remnants of sermons flashed through my mind at rapid speed. Sometimes it seemed condemning; other times, encouraging. I held my head to still my thoughts, as I sobbed heavily.
Had I lost my mind? I began to question my sanity. Do crazy people know they are crazy? I had wondered. Fear raised its ugly head; unbelief taunted me like Goliath, mocking my faith and questioning God’s love for me and the others affected by the tragedy.
My flesh and spirit warred. I did not want to dishonor God or grieve the Holy Spirit. Concentration would not stay with me as I read the scriptures, and I would close the Bible in frustration. Yet, needing strength from the Lord, I would reopen the book, only to again shut it in exasperation. A path was being worn as the floors were paced.
How did everything unravel? What was I doing wrong? A thousand questions raced through my mind. Then, I would rebuke myself, “It’s not all about you!” I heard the words in my spirit. Was that my voice, the voice of the adversary, or the voice of my Lord? Everything was so blurred.
Yes, the words of Christians in past times came at me, “There must be some kind of sin you’re hiding. Is there something you forgot to confess?” At random times, I would find myself repenting of every thought, every word, everything I could think of whether I was guilty of it or not, or even if the thing had been forgiven long ago in a distant time of repentance. Oftentimes, I held my head tightly, as if that would stop insanity in its tracks.
A friend had said to focus on Jesus. I knew that. I was trying, but the thoughts were too random, too scattered, too fast, too furious, too bizarre and too jumbled. Is that the mind and the suffering of someone who is bi-polar? I could not allow myself to be divided, lest I fall! Lord God, have mercy.
It knew that I knew that I knew that it was not just about me. I was very well aware of the pain, grief, sorrow and loss that others were suffering as a result of what happened also. What was I doing or what had I done, were questions hastily asked of the Lord. Then, guilt and a sincere fear of the Lord consumed me…days passed, a couple of weeks passed.
Where had the time gone? It only seemed like only yesterday all was well. And it seemed as only yesterday that the onslaught occurred. Prayers had gone up to the Lord, but God seemed silent. Indeed, it was a comfort knowing that brethren were praying for everyone involved in the situation, and praying for me. Although people had told me they were praying, I also somehow sensed it.
Certain portions of different Psalms became my voice as I used them in my brokenness, praying to my heavenly Father.
Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not Yourself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.
My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. [Ps 55:1-5]
How long will You forget me, O LORD? forever? how long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten my eyes, least I sleep the sleep of death; Least my enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. [Ps 13:1-4]
A Timely Reminder
Sometimes when we think God is silent, He is actually speaking to us in unexpected ways. It may be that God speaks through nature or through an off-hand, seemingly unrelated remark from a stranger, friend or relative (any age).
You may see a sign, or you may “stumble” across something written that speaks right into your situation. God leads us many times when we are not even aware. I was leafing through some old notebooks, writings I had done from the past.
I came across a remnant of an article that simply had “2013” written on it, but for some reason I stopped and read it. I would say the “reason” was the prodding of the Holy Spirit. Below is the message.
I know it is hard; I know the frailty of flesh. I understand how flesh wars against (resists) the spirit. Yea, but I see the motives and intentions of even the most awkward child. Trust Me. Yea, when you are willing and lay it down, do you see how I open your eyes now to reveal to you that I AM with you? I did not leave or forsake you.
I am walking with you through the fire. If you cannot see because of the flames of the fire, then at least be aware that you are not consumed. You are still here. Allow My peace that passes all understanding to assure you of My presence.
In focusing on Me, instead of the fire, instead of the circumstances and those that threw you into the fire, then you can rest, knowing that I AM indeed walking with you through this fiery time.
As you trust in Me, holding fast to your faith, I shall bring you through. Despise not this furnace of affliction, for again I say to you, this is My will and My great love for you, and I shall bring you through. Though others may think they know the end of a matter, fear not, for they know not My mind, nor can they counsel Me.
Yea, let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Now you go deeper, pressing in closer to Me, along the narrow path, learning further obedience by the things you suffer, even unto death. Those whose intentions are pure will surrender to My hand which does the shaking, and they shall endure.
Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered. [Heb 4:8]
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. [1 Pet1:7]
I have seen the intentions and motives of your heart: fear not. I love the awkward foal as much as the strong horse.
(End of the fragment of the original writing)
Utterly Broken, Completely Shattered!
Things kept coming against me, until finally, with great humility and in desperate surrender, I crumbled before the Lord on my knees, bowed down, literally pressing my face to the floor. With everything within me, I poured my heart out to him. Travailing, searching for understanding, completely shattered, broken.
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till He come and rain righteousness upon you. [Hos 10:12]
I did seek the Lord, but with many questions. I asked Him why He allowed me to live in the womb. Why He had saved my life more than once? I despised having been born. How many times must I go through fiery trials? Why does every trial seem worse, harder than the last one?
How come every time I think it is a dark night of the soul, and it is done for good once it passes, another dark time comes laughing at me? Why is it when I think the worst testing is done, another test comes along that is even harder?
Does every test have to be a hardcore, lengthy exam? Can I never just have a pop quiz, or a multiple choice test? How come whenever I think I have finally gone through the fire that is seven times hotter, I find out that I haven’t even come close? Does it ever end?
(Note* - Hours later, the Holy Spirit shone forth, leading me through the Holy Scriptures.)
I had not realized that part of my groaning, in those moments that the words poured forth from my heart, I had actually parroted or echoed the very words of Job. I lacked understanding; I hungered for comprehension!
Every sin I ever committed seemed to come before me. The reality, the ugliness and the remembrance of them broke me even more. Whatever I was doing wrong, IF that was the reason, I wanted to bring it all up, once and for all…and surrender in humility, confessing in genuine repentance before my God. O sweet Jesus, my Yeshua!
Finally, I could think of no more wrongs that had been left unspoken. I had prayed for all secret faults and hidden motives, any hidden sins to be brought to the surface, praying for eyes to see and the strength to acknowledge and confess. No, all that happened and was happening had nothing to do with unconfessed sin. The Holy Spirit is faithful to speak truth and guide us in all things.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, You do not despise. [Ps 51:17]
I prayed for everyone affected by what happened, including those directly involved. I prayed for brethren, both locally and those scattered around the globe, those I knew and those that I do not know in the flesh.
There was prayer for friends and others who are going through their own hard times, and asked for protection and blessings upon those that were doing alright at the moment. I prayed for family; prayers for neighbours, community, town, country(ies). I prayed until I could think of no more to pray about. Then I asked forgiveness.
God is aware of our sufferings; He has not abandoned or forsaken us. He is aware of what we are going through. He cares and is involved, even behind the scenes.
“Forgive me, Lord Jesus…for doubting your love. I just don’t understand what’s happening or where I stand in it all, but I am here, when you chose to instruct me and let me know what you desire of me, Lord.
Forgive my hasty words, I pray. Forgive my scattered thoughts, and intense emotions and feelings. All that I am, and all that I have, and all that I love…is yours. Have your way Lord; only let me know your will so that I remain in it.
When people lie, or accuse, or betray me, help me, through Your holy Spirit.
Hold it not against them.I know that we all mess up. I'm aware of all the times I've blown it. Help me to forgive them from my heart and not just in my mind because even my flesh can betray me. I know Lord, I know that…
Thank You for all you have done, all You are doing and all that You will do. Strengthen me to be all that You intended me to be, so that Jesus is glorified, no matter what. Thank You for hearing this simple and awkward prayer. In the name above all names, Your Son Jesus…amen”
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with his hand. [Ps 37:23, 24]
A sincere desire came upon me to offer up thanksgiving and praise to a very patient Creator and good Father. That is the Lord’s leading. As we grow and mature in Christ Jesus, we are taught and learn through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit what we are to do in times of great anguish and tribulation.
Such actions can defy logic, and the flesh will try to excuse itself from doing so, but we must press on to do the right thing. One of the things that was greatly troubling me was fear. As much as I do not like to admit it, fear was showing its frightening face, trying with great earnest to dispel the light with its foreboding dark presence.
God’s love is never-ending. It was in the knowing that He loved me that fear was not able to consume me, but that evil spirit was incessant. Was I not perfected in love, God’s perfect love? Why was the battle against fear so intense in this dark hour?
Well, it was later on that I came across another snippet from an article. When it was written, I do not know. There was no date on the part I randomly came across. Although I read it well after my time with the Lord that I speak of here, it fits here. It is a prophetic word from the Lord. As it is written in the Bible, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. [Rev 19:10]
Below is the word I was led to.
Remember this well – it is worth repeating. [I have] not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. [2Tim 1:7] Focus on Me. Look to Me, for I gather you in My arms, My precious child. Though darkness looms all around, I AM the light that dispels it.
The lessons and the tests are most intense, yet they are necessary to strengthen you, for great evil approaches and shall soon manifest in grand measure. You see the signs. You know My signature. (You know My Word, for it is written.) I want you prepared and strong.
This is why I tell you to cast off all fear, doubt and unbelief. I do not do My work around fear and unbelief. These enemies are not from Me, nor are they sent by Me. Do not allow these things to cause you to sin, but rather lift up your shield of faith.
Sharpen your two-edged sword and use it to come against the enemies of the cross and the enemies of Christ, who are also your enemies, for you are My child. My Son’s blood conquers all. Stick to the basics; keep upon the ancient path and follow My commandments.
The ancient path is the narrow way; the ancient path is the path that My Christ trod along. He is indeed the One who paved the way. He IS the way, the truth and the life. Few there are who travel it to the end, and fewer still enter in at the strait gate. Do all you have learned through the Word and by My Holy Spirit.
Thus says the LORD, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old (ancient) paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls. but they said, We will not walk therein.
Also I set watchmen over you,saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. but they said, We will not hearken. (listen, take heed, pay attention) [Jer 6:16]
(End of the excerpt from the undated word given)
He is worthy to be praised for He has been so faithful in times past, even before I was saved.
By Him (Jesus/Yeshua) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. [Heb 13:15]
Yet, offering up thanksgiving and praise meant that I had to fight every emotion, every feeling; every negative thought. I have much to be grateful for.
Still on my knees with my face to the floor, I fought my flesh, pushing past that urge to lean on my own understanding. It was time to do all that I had learned and been trained to do. Praise God in all things! Praise Jesus in the storm!
I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
It was a fight, a spiritual battle, a battle with the flesh and a battle against the adversary. It was time to put into practice everything that the Word of God tells us to do in trials and tribulations. By the grace of God and the help of His precious and Holy Spirit, I was doing it. I cried out for mercy and He granted it.
I had cried until I could cry no more. I had poured out everything that was in my heart; repented of all I could think of and moved into thanksgiving and praise. Spiritual warfare had taken place as well. Still, He was silent. As a battle-fatigued soul, I slowly got up from the floor. There was no more I could say or express.
The nose was blown, the tears were wiped away. I looked out to the lake and the mountains. What a beautiful world the Lord God created. I was exhausted. Sleep had been greatly deprived during this season of travailing and sorrow, so I lay down. Hours passed and my sleep was deep.
Though the Lord had been silent, when I awoke, I felt refreshed. Something was different. It was as if everything had climaxed and all the negativity, all the spent emotions, all the turmoil had been replaced by a peace, a great calm.
There were no more racing thoughts. No more condemnation. No more negativity. By His grace and mercy, God had done something deep within of me. Yes, that peace that passes all understanding had come over me, just as Jesus promised.
Something had happened. God had done something, but what? It was as if He had taken me into the eye of the storm and I was safe. He became my strong tower, my refuge, my shield. Then, as the worst of the storm passed, He set my feet once again upon the rock. Hope was restored – everything will be alright.
Yes, much still has to take place, and another season of waiting is upon me (and others), but the assurance is in knowing everything is in the hands of a competent, Sovereign God! I may have “moments” still to come, but I give Jesus all the glory for establishing my sanity once again, and stabilizing my instability.
Truly, beyond a shadow of doubt, God is worthy to be praised. Thank You, Jesus. It is because of what You did for us that we may approach the throne of God, our heavenly Father.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [Phil 4:7]
So, it was time to get back to writing again, having been strengthened by God, and God alone through Jesus Christ! I am absolutely positive that the prayers of faithful brethren were answered as well. May God answer the secret petitions of their hearts speedily and fully, for His glory.
Thank You Jesus, my Yeshua! Thank you my beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord! Each day I am strengthened and I look to Jesus for His guidance through the Holy Spirit. There are moments of uncertainty, but God is well able to redeem.
Behold, the hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear. [Is 59:1]
We are not alone in our trials. countless people all around the world are going through horrific times, in various ways of suffering. We all know this life is temporal, but that knowledge is not a comfort during times of trial and tribulation. But we who follow Jesus the Messiah can look to Him, an ever present help in trouble. He will help us through it, even when He is silent.
for His glory alone