|“You have covered yourself with a cloud |
so that no prayer can get through.”
A person who spends any amount of time with a toddler fears the silence. “What is he up to now?” we ask. The inference: “up to no good!” We prefer to trust what others do when we can’t see them. Sometimes, in our relationship with God, we hear nothing but silence and wonder, “What is He up to now?”
Job, the upright and blameless man, whose life and trials the Bible documents, heard nothing from God but silence when God took away his family, his business, and his health. In one frustrating moment, recorded in Job 23:3, Job cried out:
“Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come before His presence!”
Job did a lot of self-talk, just as Jeremiah did in his Book of Lamentations. This self-talk reminded both men of God’s unsearchable ways, His wisdom, and His care. Both came to the conclusion that they were not God, and could do nothing but cling to His mercy and to trust in Him. Both lived with God’s silence for much longer than either of them wanted.
In her book about women from the Bible, Carolyn Curtis Jones writes:1
God’s silence is not an accurate way to measure what he is doing. It’s easy to forget he often does his best work when, so far as we can tell, he doesn’t seem to be doing anything at all. But looking back on those long agonizing stretches of God’s silence, most of us will say those were the times in our relationship with God when he was doing the most.
Like Job, we may not know what God plans for us, as we travel through the darkness and silence. But, He wants us to learn to trust Him. And, like Job’s words, recorded in Job 13:15:
“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.”
The conclusion of the story finds Job in Job 42:5 remarking:
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”
God is not like the toddler: “up to no good.” No, instead He is always “up to good.” His good and our good.
|1 James, Carolyn Curtis, Lost Women of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. p. 127.|