About three years ago, I’m sitting in a Starbucks trying to write a sermon, and no words are coming to my mind. The message just won’t come together. The problem was that while I’m trying to write a sermon God felt like he was a million miles away, and I had no map to find him. I thought, I’m a pastor. If anybody is supposed to have it all figured out spiritually, it’s supposed to be a pastor, but I was stuck in a spiritual rut. It didn’t seem to matter what I did.
When I read my Bible, I would get nothing. When I prayed, God felt distant. I’m paid to go to church. So Sunday mornings felt more like a job than a joy. God felt like a friend that had moved to another state, and we just didn’t talk as often anymore. God seemed silent.
Maybe you find yourself in a similar position today. At one time your relationship with God was thriving. You loved spending time with Jesus. You enjoyed His church. Prayer was just common practice for you. The scriptures came alive every time you read them, but now that once thriving relationship feels like it’s hanging on by a thread because God feels silent. The question I asked myself three years ago and the question you probably are asking yourself right now is, “what do I do when God feels silent?” I’m not sure I have all of the answers to that question, but let me share with you what I have learned.
Stop and listen.
I was sharing about my spiritual rut with a pastor friend of mine, and he asked me when was the last time I took a break. I couldn’t remember. I hadn’t had time to stop, and because I wouldn’t stop I couldn’t hear what God was trying to teach me. It was almost as if God was saying, “If you will stop speaking so much, you might be able to hear what I am trying to tell you.” I had to stop and actually listen.
You probably need to do the same. The greatest hindrance to your spiritual life might very well be your busyness. Take a lunch break, and go to a park. Wake up a little bit earlier and have some time with God where you just listen. Go on a walk and leave your phone in the car. While you pause from your normal routine, just listen. I would guess that God isn’t as far away as you think he is. You just have been too busy to listen to him. It’s not always busyness though that makes God feel silent. Sometimes it’s something else entirely. This leads us to the second point.
Do you have sin you need to confess?
Recently I heard a book being discussed called “Everybody Lies.” The author took a look at data gathered through social media and web searches. He noticed that people’s search history gives us an insight into what is really going on in their mind. As you hear about the findings in this book, you learn how gross people can really be with the privacy of the Internet. There are all of these sins that people engage in that they might not otherwise do if other people knew. This also led me to think about sin in my own life and others’ life, and you need to understand, nothing will create distance between you and God faster than secret sins in your life.
The distance between God and yourself might have been created by the sin in your life. Sin puts up a wall between you and God. The only way that wall comes down is if we confess to God what is going on in our life. We seek his help, wisdom, and guidance to walk us out of our sin. I know that was heavy few sentences to read, but God wants what is best for you. He knows that sin is never what’s best. God might just be silent because you have been stiff arming him, but what if we put our arms down, and let him lovingly lead us to a better future.
When God feels silent we need to pursue him all the more. We need to confess our sin, and we need to step away from the noise of this world so we can actually hear him speak. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Maybe the problem wasn’t God. Maybe you and I are the problem, and we need to draw near to God. If we will listen, he will speak. So start listening today
Pastor Chris Weatherly
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