When God goes silent..
By Shahid Shahbaz Khan
Special to ASSIST News Service
PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Two years ago, after I had returned to Pakistan from England after the termination of my Bible course, I was in high Christian spirits.
Having been heavily involved in Christian work, preaching in churches, street and tube evangelism and also handing out Christian literature in London's streets, I thought I would continue to serve the Lord with the same zeal and zest in Pakistan.
However, this feeling didn't last very long. My Christian spirit began to sag. Everything that I had learned during my studies in London seemed to look like a forgotten story. The God which I believed and preached so passionately began to feel like a distant God. I felt as if Satan yelled at me, "Physician Heal Thyself".
I started to experience a "Spiritual Chasm" and one of my Christian friends told me about a "Preparation period" -- when God goes silent.
One of the ceaseless characteristics of God is that "He Speaks". One of the very early things that we learn about God in Bible is that He spoke to different people at different times, calling them out to carry out His plan. He still speaks to His people. Oddly enough, there were times in Bible when God went silent. It was like a pin drop silence from this speaking God of the Old Testament.
If you pick up any copy of Bible you will find a "blank page" where God went silent. It was a period when God did not speak to His people and was known as an "Inter-testemental Period". God was preparing his people to receive the "Promised Messiah" to be an everlasting prince to the Heavenly throne.
The people of Israel might have thought otherwise after the prophet Malachi, when God did not speak to them for almost 1500 years. Their hopes might have been dashed to ground. God's promises to them as the chosen seed began to sap their spirits. God on the other side was working silently and patiently for His people. He never leaves nor forsakes us, which is His peerless Godly trait.
Many of Christians today whom I have met personally here in Pakistan feel as if God has left them just like the Children of Israel might have wondered before the birth of Jesus.
They give in so easily. Their Christian thoughts get diverted and they begin thin king differently about God. One of my Christian friends, having been ill for the last ten years, feels same about God. Her God does not speak. She thinks Jesus has left her and there is no hope in her heart.
We, as Christians, have to understand the fact that God does not leave His children regardless of how ugly our actions and deeds might have become. His love for His creation is evermore the same and instead He helps us like a good shepherd for His lost sheep and cares for each of us.
I have visited several people in Pakistan who feel the same way. We have not received a verse from God yet. We are waiting to hear a new message or a revelation from God. They think God has stopped speaking to them. We all at some point in our Christian walk feel as if God has become distant. Our prayers are apparently not heard, and we think in our beings that we have developed distance with God.
However, it is otherwise, as God never leaves His people. He sent his only Son and let him die on the cross of Calvary to undergo the humiliation at the expense of the sins which He never committed. Jesus said, "My father is always at Work". He never sleeps; never slumbers; never takes a nap like we do. He is above and beyond all these human limitations. We try to view God with our human eyes which are so limited. Our God is a limitless God. He is the divine architect of this world.
Like a mastermind, He gives the final touches so that we lack nothing. Like a potter, He fashions our lives. We are putty in His hands and He shapes us according to His divine plan and purpose. We are never outside the plan of God.
But in these dark days of silence, God makes us, encourages us, and uplifts our sagging spirits as He never did before, so as to make us more instrumental for His purpose. He teaches us to be more and more dependant upon Him to ask Him for every need in our lives and to be more and more committed in our lives. He wants all of us our soul, spirit, heart and mind to give the best unto the Lord.
I have observed that one of the tactics that satan employs against the people of God is to make them uncertain about the presence of God, or to take away the confidence which they profusely confessed at the start of their Christian walk. And so, when comes the temptation, they succumb easily to develop the mindset which goes against the teaching of Christianity.
One of the ways we could counter this attack by the devil is to daily feed upon the true bread of life. We ought to remember His words and promises as mentioned in Bible and then commit our lives whole heartedly into His Hands.
So, next time, when you feel that God has gone silent in your life, be sure He is going to do a fine work in your life so that His wholeness may complete the lack that you carry to make you into a the finest person of His fine hands.
|The writer is a former student of Hampstead Bible College in London, England. A recipient of Best Preacher Prize for 2003-2005 by the college, Shahid is planning to do higher and further studies in religion. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org|