I will never forget how excited I was the first time I read John 10:4: "When he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them. And the sheep follow him, for they know his voice." It was in the early days of my salvation that this verse jumped off the page, and I knew that I knew that I could hear God's voice!
From that day on, 35 years ago, I have expected to hear God's voice. When I read Daniel 10:19b, "When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, 'Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me,'" I knew exactly what it meant. I had always been strengthened in my walk with the Lord when He spoke a word to me. I had learned to ponder that word in my heart, and the revelation would come as I earnestly sought to hear His voice.
Recently, I seemed to be having a dry season in my life, and it was not the first time in my 35 years with the Lord. I began to search the Scriptures, speaking to the Lord and letting Him know that I needed a word from Him.
Over the years, I have learned to appreciate the seasons of life and how each season is significant. During winter seasons where everything seems to be silent, I must say, I struggle. So in this recent season, "God, teach me about the silence," I cried.
In Matthew 15:21-28, I read the testimony of a Canaanite woman. As Jesus and His disciples were traveling, she called out and begged Jesus to have mercy on her daughter who was suffering from a demonic influence. Jesus didn't say a word (v. 23). I wondered, How did she feel? She is calling out for help from someone who is supposed to love her and want to help.
The disciples, getting tired of this persistent woman, urged Jesus to help her so she would leave them alone. They saw only the problem from a natural viewpoint. Jesus heard the cry of her heart and was interested in ministering to her spiritual need.
Not discouraged by Jesus and his seeming disregard, she persisted and continued to call out. He gave her a reason for not helping her (v. 24) and insulted her (v. 26). She didn't care what the reason was or what others thought. She fell at His feet, humbling herself in the sight of the Lord, willing to accept whatever He said. Finally, Jesus answered, ""O woman, great is your faith. Let it be done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly'" (v. 28).
I believe this woman walked away with much more than she asked for. She learned about God's silence. God's silence increased the intensity of her pursuit. God desires that we want more and more of Him, not just what He can give us.
Psalm 103:7 tells us, "He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the people of Israel." The people of Israel were never satisfied. They did not understand His precepts, the way He requires us to walk, His promises and purposes and that He desires a relationship with His children. The children of Israel told Moses, "You talk to Him and tell us what He says."
Too many Christians have what I call secondhand revelation. They go to church and listen to a sermon, but never study the Word to receive revelation for themselves.
In my quest to understand the silence, God spoke to me, "Do you not remember?" As I meditated this, I read Psalm 78:41-42: "Yes, they tested God over and over, and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His power, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy." How do you forget walking through the Red Sea with water standing on each side of you as you cross over to the other side?
The same we do. Life goes on, and challenges crop up here and there, storm clouds start rolling in to cloud our vision, and it is easy to forget.
When you purpose to remember, your heart becomes full of what God has done for you. His love becomes real to you, and you enter His gates with thanksgiving in your heart! Thanksgiving prepares the way for a miracle and breaks the doubt and unbelief that are hovering over you.
Springtime is coming, and once again, we realize that Father truly knows best.
"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven ... A time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Eccl. 3:1, 7b).
Joyce Tilney is an author and Bible teacher. In her new book, The Real Woman Grows Roses from the Thorns of Life, Joyce shares how the seed of God's Word planted in your heart will transform you into the child God created you to be. For more information email: [email protected] and visit her website at wogministries.com. The book is available on Amazon.
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