Man, oh man! My life has been crazy recently.
Why, you ask? Well, I finished my last year of high school about a month and a half ago and then I graduated from high school just a couple of days after that. A week after graduation, I attended my college orientation at Berry and got stuck with information overload. I will be moving into my dorm room in West Mary Hall in a little over a month. I will become a college student in absolutely no time. I am trying to soak up the time I have left with my parents, my best friends, and my boyfriend before I depart. Needless to say, I just haven’t found the time to write. Often times throughout these past couple weeks I have had things I wanted to write about, but time just got me every single time; however, I was working on making my boyfriend’s birthday present and somehow, I was inspired to write a post. I pray that this inspiration will keep up and even as my life turns crazier come fall, I will continue writing.
Here I go.
I would like to begin this post by sharing something with you that I wrote a few days ago in a moment of inspiration...
Keys; they are powerful things.
They unlock doors.
They lead the way to an unseen place.
They are the way to new opportunities.
Doors; they have locks.
Locks keep us from unlocking doors.
Locks keep us from unseen places.
Locks are the way to stray from new opportunities.
Every single lock is different and every lock requires a different key.
Have you ever noticed?
There are millions upon millions of doors in this world and millions upon millions of keys to unlock those doors.
They are all different colors, designs, and shapes. No two are exactly alike because they are planned to be unique. They are planned to be special, one of a kind, and absolutely different.
This is God’s world.
He made me radically special and different from everyone else and because of this, God decided to birth a plan for my life that is different and utterly original, just like us. No two plans are exactly alike, just like the keys. Keys unlock doors and God holds every key to every door.
He, God alone, unlocks the doors.
He decides when I will walk through those doors and He has crafted those keys by His own hand.
I must be patient and see which doors He unlocks and when He decides He will unlock them. Not my will but yours, Lord. Not my timing, but yours. Unlock these doors and use the keys that you have crafted. God, this is your world and I am all yours.
So, I’ve written previous posts about this idea of feeling distant from God or feeling like you can't hear His voice clearly (see Interference or Spiritually Congested) but recently I've been thinking more and more on this idea, while also praying about it. Through this, I have found an inspiring Bible story and a new outlook on this idea. I have found truth in every single way possible by this discovery. While there are still some things I don't quite understand, and probably won't ever, I can rest in the truths I have uncovered in my research. I've been feeling directionless with God/feeling stuck in the rut and well, I feel that direction gives us a sense of purpose; without direction, it's easy to become confused. I've been waiting for God to return and to feel Him close to me again and the wait hasn't been easy.
I guess you could say the Lord is trying to teach me the meaning of “wait for me” with a special side of “you need more patience, girl.” I will explain more about that later in this post.
But I am confident that I'm not the only one feeling this way. Right now, it's summer, and in my mind, summer is a time of transitioning.
Everyone is entering into a transition.
Whether you're about to become a college student, a high school student, preparing for another year of school and all of the opportunities it will bring, beginning a new job, moving someplace new, ending a relationship, creating a new one, growing your faith, or whatever your personal circumstances may be: summer to me is a transition period.
Transitions are difficult times because we were wired to fear the unknown and to rely on another person to guide us; this act is simply human nature, but with God we do not have to fear; we can surrender our entire lives to Him and live in joy; however, this is difficult to do when God is seemingly silent.
What I have found through this period of time is this: silence serves a purpose. Sometimes deafening silence can be healthy for our faith. While I may not be able to understand it now, God is using this silence to test my faith, to grow my faith, and to change me into the woman I am working to become. He promises that better things are in store for me later, if I am patient. This applies to you in every single way as well. God since the beginning of time has called for His people to be patient.
And well, how do I know this?
Well, all of us can thank a quick thank you to the people of the Bible who lived before us. Through them, we have learned many lessons and things that God desires for us to learn.
Here’s a story.
Many, many years ago there lived an ancient and great saint, Isaiah. While he was strong, faithful, and reliant on God, he often felt as though God was absent from his life, crying out to God, “You have hidden your face from us” (Isaiah 64:1-7 NIV).
Everyone questioned the Lord asking, “if the Lord is really with us, where are all the good and amazing deeds that He promised to us?”
So, you see… the feeling of the Lord being distant is anything but brand new. People have felt this way for years upon years and the Bible is concrete proof of this.
We now enter into my second story, so buckle up. :)
In the Old Testament when people entered a relationship with the Lord, He sent them into the “wilderness” and it was known as “wilderness wandering.” This happened with Moses and the Israelites.
A famine sent the Israelites into Egypt from their homeland, but soon the Egyptian people grew sick of the Israelites inhabiting their land and chose to enslave them, treating them horribly (Exodus 1:8-13 NIV). Obviously, being enslaved by rude people wasn’t the happiest or most glamorous thing. They Israelites cried out to God day in and day out, hoping for mercy and freedom. God did not respond in their desired timing, but after many years had passed, God heard the cries of the Israelite slaves and sent this guy named Moses to free them from their bondage. The Pharaoh of Egypt agreed to free the Israelites.
God promised Moses He would deliver the Israelites into the Promised Land, a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8 NIV).
So, Moses led them to this land as God promised Moses he would and upon arrival, the Israelites sent twelve spies into Canaan. They surveyed the land and the people living on it. The Israelites grew horribly frightened; after forty days of exploration in Canaan, the spies came back with horrible reports and broken faiths, saying “we cannot attack those people; they are stronger than we are… all the people were of great size… we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes” (Numbers 13:31-33 NIV).
This land was already inhabited by men, strong warriors that seemed impossible to remove or defeat. They feared they would never enter into their promised land. The Israelites began losing hope, rebelling, and cursing the Lord because “his promises were unfaithful.”
God promised the Israelites that they could fight these inhabitants and enter their promised land, but they doubted God and their ability. This doubt and lack of faith angered God and He sentenced them to “wilderness wandering” in the desert for nearly forty years, one year for each of the forty days the spies explored Canaan.
They were stuck, abandoned, and lonely… cursed to wander around without faith and without belief.
Pause the story for a second. Let me just emphasize something for a second. A forty year wandering. Can you even imagine? These people were stuck in this desert for forty years before they ever heard anything from God or received any feelings of peace from Him. Forty years. Gosh… I cannot even imagine waiting for that long. Please, let this sink in as you read the rest of this story.
It felt as God was distant, as He had turned His face from His people. While God promised them victory and a better future, they felt lost and they felt directionless. These people waited for years and years for God to deliver on His promise and they waited years for His return, even though He was there with them all along.
Forty years later, after endless waiting, God rang true on His promises. He delivered the Israelites to the land of milk and honey.
So, see everyone? This isn’t anything new, this whole waiting on God thing. He has desired for us to learn patience since the beginning.
Why does God leave us feeling this way: abandoned, directionless, stagnant, and lonely? I don’t know the full answer, because I’m only human. But I believe that these men, these Israelites chose to walk by sight and not by faith and the Lord desires just the opposite for us; walking by faith demands that we persevere even when we cannot feel or see the Lord; walking by faith means believing that we are not alone even when we cannot feel the warmth of God’s presence enveloping us.
So, why am I telling you this? I bet that’s what you’re wondering.
I tell you this for many reasons. No matter what you’re going through right now in your transition, remember that God is with you, even if you cannot feel Him. When you cannot feel His presence and when you feel far from Him, refuse to stand still. Open your Bible, pray again, listen to worship music, attend small group… do anything but remain stagnant. When you begin to move, God will. Keep on trucking. Don’t give up, but get frustrated. Ask questions and ask God to answer them. Pray for clarity and peace. He will deliver.
But also remember that God’s delivery isn’t instantaneous. You don’t just pray to God one second and then the next have everything you’ve ever wanted or desired. God will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4 NIV) if you remain faithful and persevere through the hardest of times. The Israelites wandered around aimlessly for forty years before they received an answer from the Lord.
And no, I am not saying that you will wait the rest of your life to hear anything from God, to receive clarity from God, or to feel his presence again, but you need to know that your timing isn’t necessarily God’s timing. You are going to have to wait on God’s timing. You are going to get angry and frustrated and feel like God is just mute, but you must be patient. In His timing, if you remain patient and believing, He will return and reveal his promises to you. It happened to the Israelites and it is for sure going to happen to you. You have to keep believing and keep growing in your faith, even though the silence is deafening.
Soon, you will know and soon you will feel Him, because I know that in God’s world anything is possible, if you remain patient and hopeful.
In life, we can become so fixated on our circumstances that we completely forget the truth behind Jesus’ identity. We forget that he is God with us.
Encouragement is a hard thing to tackle, but what if there was a way to break it down? Encouragement just becomes simpler when looked at through the lenses of faith.