Monday, July 27, 2009

When God Seems Silent

When Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land, the Bible tells us they also took twelve stones from the Jordan’s river bed. These stones were piled into a memorial to be a testimony of how God has worked for them. Joshua told the Israelites “the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God" (Joshua 4:23-24).

Testimonies and memorials are wonderful reminders us of God’s unchanging faithfulness to his children. As the line from ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ goes “As thou hast been, thou forever will be”. Reminders of his past faithfulness strengthen us to keep going in the face of adversity. The reality of our Christian life is that there will be times when our world falls to pieces yet God is silent. We cry out to God but we seemingly get no answer. We feel ignored. Situations like these are not unique to us although we tend to believe and make it so. The Bible tells us that the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years before being delivered in the Exodus. This means whole generations of Israelites cried out to God for deliverance but faced God’s silence to their needs. Wang Ming Dao, with other fellow Christians, suffered greatly at the hands of cruel captors for many years during the Cultural Revolution. For many of them deliverance was long in coming and for many of them, not at all.

They remind us of our own adverse times when God seems silent – the only difference between theirs and being the degree of adversity. In moments like these, we should turn to past victories and recall God’s blessings. Recalling those victories will produce renewed confidence for our lives because they are testimonies of God's faithfulness. The Bible itself is a track record of God’s accomplishments in his people’s lives. Therefore, we should read it to commune with him so that he may remind us of his faithfulness in the past and his promises of hope for the future. The Bible also reminds us that God has already delivered us from the penalty of sin that we deserved. This testimony of God’s greatest act of deliverance is our strength. This is our assurance that he will also deliver us from the presence of sin and evil one day. Let us then be faithful to him because surely he is always faithful to us.

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