Our middle daughter was about the sneakiest two-year-old imaginable. Quiet, sweet and oh so cunning.
But the one sneak I never got used to was the tip-toe out of bed escape. Because she did it so quietly. So unexpectedly. So good.
I would round a corner and there she’d stand like a flat Heidi against the wall waiting without a peep, still as a statue for who-knows-how-long until I hurriedly turned down the hall.
She didn’t move while I peeled myself off the ceiling. She patiently waited for me to stop screaming. When my legs stopped pumping and my hands dropped from clutching my heart, she silently reached out little arms for a hug.
Our pastor says a lot of good things, but recently a sentence caught me mid stride as it were, flattened against the walls of my thinking then stepping into my situation with a warm hug. He is preaching through Esther. I love that book.
“The silence of God does not equate the absence of God,” Pastor Tim said.
The Bible opens and closes with the presence of God. He is present. Although when we can’t see Him at work with our physical eyes and sometimes we wonder where is He and why doesn’t He do something? But God is God.
He is no less present when I am acutely aware He is in front, behind and at each side as when it feels He is in a game of hide-and-seek. His silence never means He is absent.
Voices in the streets are really loud right now. Actions erratic.
I often turn to Psalm 77 when it feels dark, when I can’t find my way. It’s written by someone experiencing a silent God, invisible in spite of searching and pleading.
“I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted.” Psalm 77:1-2 (NIV)
I know that cry, and I recognize the deafening silence. Do you too?
“I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night.” Psalm 77:5-6 (NIV)
Asaph’s Psalm works its way through the paths of an invisible God who at times works in unseen ways. His mind weaves through the same questions we ask. Has he rejected us? Has His love vanished and promise failed? Where is He? Until they rest on the most important question. Who is He?
“Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?” Ps. 77:13 (NIV)
Our vision is challenged. Someday we will turn a corner and vision will clear. We will know that to be silent is not to be absent. We will see God’s hand in the mundane ordinary events of life. In our awe we will wonder how we could have ever imagined Him absent.
“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.”
Our adult eyes are tested to look beyond the reality around us and embrace what we can’t see, to believe it to be more real in fact, than what we can see. We will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He was waiting at each turn, around every corner and into the dark hallway of our souls. And the warm embrace as He steps into our vision will be glorious.