does a long silence equal no answer at all?

Posted: November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

How long do we have to wait for an answer from God before we can assume that He ISN’T going to answer? 

How long do we have to wait to receive something from God before we should decide that He’s just not going to give it to us?

If there’s only ever been silence on a subject, is that a “sign” that there is only ever going to be silence?

I have sat with a lot of people while they have agonized over these questions.  While they looked to ME for answers.  I never know how to guess at what God is doing, what His timing looks like, or what anyone is supposed to think in the waiting space, other than the usual frustrating answers.  Praise God. Trust God.  Serve God.  Praise God.  Trust God.  Serve God.  Repeat, repeat, repeat, and when He decides it is time for you to have something or know something, you will…and the timing will have been just right – not late at all, though usually by our standards, at the “last possible moment.”   

Yesterday, as I mentioned on the blog, I got the answer to a question I have been asking myself and God for over 30 years.  I did not wake up yesterday morning EXPECTING a miracle – and in my opinion, that’s what it was – but it happened.  It brought me to (grateful) tears when it happened, and then tears kept leaking out of my eyes for the rest of the day, and then again this morning a reply from the blogger (who I emailed to thank for what God had supplied through his words) sent me off into more happy, grateful tears again. 

I’m not going to share the question or the answer here.  That stuff is closer to the vest than even over-sharing Karen is up for, and it is also not the point of today’s blog.  It was a “why?” question, and that’s enough to know.

I had searched for the answer every way I knew how.  Had thought deeply and prayed about it often.  Had read a ton.  Had watched and listened and searched.  I had written privately about it many times, since writing often opens up to me things that I don’t even realize I knew.  Nothing brought me an answer.  I felt like I NEEDED an answer. 

But I’ve known a lot of people who *needed* answers to why questions and couldn’t find them.  This has happened often enough that I have understood for some time now that pinning one’s happiness and/or well-being to the answer to a why question is a sure way to stay miserable and grow bitter.  Not wanting to be either, I consciously worked at not insisting that I must have an answer to be satisfied or happy.  I worked to let go.  I talked to myself about not picking at that wound.  I reminded myself that maybe I might know in heaven someday, and that would probably be soon enough.  I worked at surrender.  And surrender really IS work sometimes – continuous, unrelenting work.  Sometimes we manage to surrender once and have it done.  Other times, maybe YOU don’t do this, but stubborn folks like me often have to surrender over and over and over and over and over and over and…well, you get the point.  So that’s what I’ve been doing for years:  repeatedly surrendering my “right” to have the answer to a question that I couldn’t find. 

After more than 30 years, one might reasonably presume that God has closed the subject, eh?  I kind of thought so.  This didn’t stop me from struggling with surrender.  But I kind of thought so. 30 years is a long darn time. 

But then the Bible is full of reasons not to assume that He has closed a book just because the next line hasn’t been pronounced aloud yet.  So I might have KNOWN that the subject wasn’t closed, if I had thought of it in those terms.

What are you waiting on God for?  What question do you need answered?  What thing do you need to have?

I’m no expert, but my advice is this:  don’t hang your happiness on having it, or on having it in what seems like a “timely” manner to you.  SURRENDER, no matter how many times you have to keep doing that. 

But maybe don’t assume He has closed the subject, just because the quiet has stretched out long.

Just a thought.



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