Sunday, November 23, 2008

Out of the silence, and singing His praises

Well, I'm back in the blogosphere. If you're reading this, thanks for sticking with me. :)

I don't know how to begin to summarize what has been going on in my life, my head, my heart and my spirit. There has been a lot, and although some of the lessons have been less-than-pleasant to go through, I am rejoicing that God is putting me through the tough times, because it's taking me to a deeper level of faith than I have been in before.

I have spoken the words of David this week when he said, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?" (Psalm 13) and "To you I call, O Lord, my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit." (Psalm 27).

To find myself at a point where God is silent before me has been really hard. As long as I can remember, I have heard the voice of the Lord guiding me, comforting me and giving me peace. This week, nothing but silence stretched out in front of me, at a point when I feel I need it most. However, through the silence and the time of spiritual darkness, God has been good, and has been teaching me. Here are a few things I have learned/am still learning:

- The silence is a beautiful thing. In it, I am forced to stop the "temper tantrum" I am throwing, which is exhausting me, and just listen for the quiet whisper of the Lord.
- Even when I don't hear a whisper from God, I can be confident that HE IS STILL THERE. No matter what I am feeling, or how silent He may (seem to) be, I have faith that His presence is just as near as ever.
- Times of silence teach me to fall more in love with the Gift-Giver, rather than the gifts he gives or the words he speaks.
- When I seek him out of desperation, or because I want out of my circumstances or pain, I am not treating the Lord as he ought to be treated. Rather, I am treating him like a genie who should snap his fingers and change my life, instead of praising him for being God and doing and knowing what will bring him the most glory. I must learn to faithfully seek Him at all times, not only in rough times as a solution to pain, but out of a thankful heart as God.
- Sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. He wants to turn our wailing into dancing. Even when we don't "feel" like rejoicing, we must, because He is God, and He is good, and that is enough.
- The silence has shown me those things I have been trusting in more than I trust in the Lord, and thankfully, God is merciful and forgives me for my idolatrous heart when I ask.
- His presence is something I will never lose, will always hunger for more of, and will never fully grasp. How deep the unsearchable riches of Christ!

I am discovering that even when things make me sad, God is using even those experiences to refine me and sanctify me, making me more holy and more fit for Him to use. Using the example of when Jesus broken the 5 loaves and fed 5,000 with it, I'm going to steal a line from one of my favorite books: "If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad."

Though it's been a rough week spiritually, I am here, and I am thankful. God is still God, no matter what petty issues of the heart come up in my life. I am so thankful He is breaking me, because I trust Him that the brokenness will make me holy, and the pieces will feed many, and more than just me. He gives all, and He asks all. Am I willing to surrender all?

I have spoken with David this week, crying out from the darkness of my heart for the Lord to not be silent and to hear me. He has also spoken to me this week, and all I can now do is echo David's words, "I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths. I called to you for help and you healed me...Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

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