Tag Archives: Silence

God’s Plans…

In the last week our family has been praying for something very specific….sunset_sailing….it didn’t happen.Now comes the normal responses of all of us as we seek to know what God is doing…

I prayed, why didn’t he answer?

This was really important to me, how could he not do it?

Is there really a God at all if he doesn’t answer prayers like this?

How can I trust him when he knew how important this was?

Why pray at all if he doesn’t answer anyway?

I’m sure you could add a dozen other questions to this list that you have asked as the plans and prayers you hoped for didn’t come true, didn’t materialize.

What is God doing? What’s his plans for us?  How do we navigate this topic of prayer when often the things we ask for are very important to us?  Now what?  Can we trust him?  Should I even pray for things again since he didn’t answer this prayer?  Doesn’t he know how important this was to me?

The emotions of unanswered prayer are intense.  The hoped for expectations that are crushed by a prayer unanswered are confusing.  Now what? Where do we go from here?

There are often no words for the emotions that follow an unanswered prayer.  For me, after many years of knowing God, I realized that often my dreams and visions are not the best thing for me…and so I trust God for his plans, his directions….but it’s hard, isn’t it?  It’s hard when we asked, we wanted, we hoped…and he replies with silence.  Is he there at all?  Is he, as many say, the God of the deist…making it all and then walking away?  Unanswered prayers make us ask those questions…especially when he has invited us to ask!

The bottom line for all of this is simply this-  God loves us. God is sovereign and his love, his plans, and his wisdom direct our lives for his glory and our good.  It doesn’t mean we always get what we want…and that confuses us because we “know” that what we want is the very best thing….if only God would give us what we prayed for.

But often he doesn’t.  Now what?

Solomon wrote these words,

“The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
 
When God says “no” I come back to this…God loves me,He has my best in mind,

He has a plan for my life,

and he’s sovereign.

I can trust him to accomplish the best for me…..even when he says “no”.

In moments like this, when I don’t understand his “no” I go back to the verses that direct me when I don’t have answers…the verses that calm my confused and disheartened mind,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
  and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”

Seeking God

mountains

“Seek the Lord while you can find him.

Call on him now while he is near.”

-Isaiah 55

This morning, just after sunrise, I went for a long walk in the woods. If you are ever in a place like this you have to walk out into the woods and be still, listen, pray and praise.  That was my goal this morning…and I hoped to see a bear…but back to my topic.  I walked about a mile back into the forest and just stood still…waiting…waiting for God.  I prayed, I sang (badly), I quieted my mind and listened….
….I listened for God, but at times he feels as elusive as that bear I never saw today.  At times I wait, I listen and I hear nothing…..I want to hear from him, I want to follow him, I want to be aware of his presence, but often…..silence.
I know many struggle when this happens.  I have.  Is this a game of “hide-and-seek”?  Why is this so hard?  But there is much more going on than you know when you sense God is not there.  He’s teaching us to be still.  God said to David, “Be still (shut up) and know that I am God.”  God is there and he is not silent, but often I’m deaf to his voice.  How do I fix that?  What do I do?
I have to be still….be quiet, quiet my mind, my heart, my voice and wait on him.  This morning I stood in the deep forest for more than 30 minutes.  I know, that’s not very long, but as I stood there praying, listening, silent before God, I waited for his voice.  He knows I want to follow, he knows I desire his will, he knows me better than I know me….and yet he makes me wait.  He says nothing.
What is going on?  What’s wrong?  Nothing at all….God is working on things I’m completely unaware of.  He’s dealing with things in my life I have never dealt with.  For me the first task is stillness….God has the response…I will know that HE is God.
I’m seeking God.  He’s not like that old bear who avoided me this morning…he’s always with me, working in my life…even when I don’t see him, even when I don’t hear him.  In these times I wait.  He always works in my life in ways that surprise me.  I look forward to his surprise today.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Never Alone

My heart is amazed at just how big this world is and how technology can keep us in touch with those who have moved away from us.  But sometimes, my heart is even more amazed at just how alone we can feel even though people are close to us physically as well as through technology. 

We often feel alone when:

  • The pain in the night is unbearable
  • The silence is deafening
  • Friends should rejoice with us but are envious
  • Family squabbles become bitter feuds
  • The darkness engulfs us
  • The well deserved promotion is shot down by assumptions
  • No one understands
  • Everyone says they understand but act as if they could care less
  • We’ve tried a million times but continue to feel like a failure
  • We’ve asked for forgiveness but there is no hope of receiving it
  • Good news is overshadowed by great hurt

You’ve probably been there and felt as if your prayers were going no further than the ceiling.  Let me remind you that not only does your Heavenly Father hear those cries, they matter to Him.  He hears you and cares about what your heart is feeling.

The time you feel completely alone is when you typically withdraw and close your heart off to the world.  Worse than that, you close your Bible and think; I don’t even know what to pray, so why bother and you let isolation MOVE YOU from your Father’s side.

God never moves from us.  We move from Him.  But, even when we stray, move or completely ignore Him…we are never alone.

What verses do you wrap yourself in when you feel completely alone?

Please leave them below and encourage those that are feeling completely alone.

 

I Know You’re There

2 Chronicles 13:12
And, behold, God himself is with us 

2 Chronicles 32:8
With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.

 

 

You’re Not alone

 

 

Deut 31:6  Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

 

God With Us

 

 

Lamentations 3:24-25 

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

 

Stuck Places

We all get stuck. Stuck at points of our life that cripple us in the days ahead. From that “stuck place” we find that we now “walk with a limp.” Something happened, we were hurt, wounded, broken, abused, sinned against. A parent died, a wife left, a child became ill, and we got stuck at that terrible event…at that moment in our life.

I’m finding that the problems in people’s lives are often the result of their stuck places. From that wound, that death, that divorce we are emotionally stuck and cannot go further, cannot grow, cannot walk away from the wound and so we carry our woundedness with us and sadly create stuck places for others we encounter. We are the walking wounded, the mass of humanity stuck in the past hurts and wounds of our lives that have affected us and now affect those around us.

Stuck places…places we remember vividly because of what they have done to us, moments in time we have recorded in our brains we can replay in high definition detail. We are stuck because of what happened, because of what someone said, what they did to us, how they hurt us. We remember every detail, every moment. We are stuck.

This morning I was visiting with a friend and described my thoughts on this topic. He knew immediately his stuck place and described it in fine detail, as if it had happened yesterday, but in fact it was decades ago. It was life changing for him, he’s never forgotten it, he knew exactly when, where and how he got stuck. It’s changed him, it changed his family and his life.

Another man I visited with has struggled with alcohol and drugs for more than 20 years. I asked him when he started drinking, doing drugs. He replied, “I started drinking when I was 12.” My next question changed everything in our visit. I asked, “what happened when you were 12 that made you look for something to dull the pain?” He lowered his head, he was quiet for a moment, and then he replied, “my baseball coach sodomized me…..” There was silence for a moment, but I knew right away that he was stuck at that event in his history. It had affected his life, his family and his path. He was stuck! I told him, “It’s not your fault.” He broke down and wept, broken, stuck, wanting out, but stuck at 12 years of age.

I know this may not fit with all the counseling models I read about, but I also know that I am seeing this more clearly in each visit I have with someone who is having a difficult time in life, something happened and they got stuck.

Another man I know grew up in a horrible home situation and ran away from the abuse and brutality of his family at the age of 13. Imagine things being so bad that you run away from home at 13. Now, even as an adult, when things get difficult, conflict happens in his life, relationships are hard, he runs away. He’s stuck at the tender age of 13 and doesn’t know how to resolve his brokenness, his stuckness in the pain of his past and so he lives it out in how he makes choices today, more than 30 years later.

Imagine this multiplied by 6 billion. The whole of humanity stuck in the pain and hurt, rejection and abuse of their pasts. Imagine the wounds that are still open, still tender, still bleeding from what has happened in our pasts. Imagine what can happen when even one person brings all their mess, all their stuckness to God to resolve.

Where was Jesus when you were hurt, when you were rejected, when you were abused? Where was God when you got stuck? He was right there with you, walking with you through your hurts, your abuse, your divorce, your rejection. It’s his great desire that we take our brokenness to him, our stuckness if you will, and allow him to heal, restore, and move you past the pain, past that moment that got you stuck.

My friend who was sodomized at 12 is doing much better, he’s no longer a broken hurting 12 year old boy. He’s a man beginning to recover. It’s available to everyone, no matter what happened, no matter where you got stuck, Jesus came to dissolve the glue of our past, erase the pain of our wounds, heal the scars of our encounters and make us new.

Paul described it this way, 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation (something brand new!) has come: The old has gone, the new is here (present tense)! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. (getting us “unstuck”) And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Are you stuck? Jesus can fix that.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.