Have you ever been in desperate places when God seemed to be deafeningly silent? If you haven't at some point you most likely will. Even though the scriptures say God will never leave me or forsake me, sometimes the circumstances of life have left me feeling as if I am living in a relational ghost town. How can He be here with me when I cannot hear, feel or see Him? Does He have Caller ID, sees it's me and refuses to pick up? Why does it feel like I am so alone if He is with me? I find answers hidden in the story of the two men walking on the road to Emmaus.
Jesus had died 2 days before and on the 3rd day there is talk of the tomb being empty. Two followers are walking along the road talking about all that has just happened when a "man" comes up and begins to walk with them. He listens as they talk and then, as if he doesn't know anything, begins to question them. They’re pretty surprised that this stranger doesn’t know what’s just happened, after all the whole city of Jerusalem knows. Didn’t he see the skies go black and feel the earthquake? They try to explain what they have just witnessed.
They've just experienced a devastating blow. They thought the Messiah had come to save them from the Roman rule and now he’s dead. Not only is He dead, His body has now been reported missing. They have no idea who is walking with them. Jesus' presence is hidden from them. Unbeknownst to them, as they wrestle with their faith, Jesus is walking right beside them.
They get to their destination and beg the man to stay with them. They sit down to a meal, and the "man" prays. At once their eyes are opened and they see. Though they were unaware, Jesus had been with them all along. Their words are priceless. “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us?”
LIfe has dished out it's hard knocks. Sometimes it has taken all that I've had within me to stay present. When God's voice became silent I discovered something. Hidden away inside me were questions. Where was God? Did He care? What is this all about? Have I done something to deserve this? Has He walked out on me? The silence of God comes, bringing with it a stillness that shuts down the outside noise, allowing the noise of our doubts and questions to rise up.
The hiddenness has a purpose, though I do not like the feel of it. It’s in the hiddenness that I, like those two men, have to come to the conclusion about what I believe, see and know.
How often when life isn’t what I thought it would be do I feel like He has left me? How often do I blame myself for where I am? “If I had just read my Bible more, or prayed more, maybe this wouldn’t have happened?” It was easy to tell myself that surely I had done something wrong.
Though He is always with me, there are times He hides His presence from me. He allows the beliefs hidden down deep to rise up to the surface. It’s in those times that my faith is given a good dose of fertilizer to grow. As I grapple with what I feel verses what I know, something is transformed in me and I see. The times of silence do not mean He has left me. They mean that He is hidden in order for me to find what I really believe about Him and what I believe He thinks about me. He never leaves me or forsakes me. He is always with me. His Spirit is in me. I cannot be detached from Him.
He walks beside me, though there are times I am oblivious. Hiddenness has it’s purpose. When the time is right He will reveal Himself to me once again, my eyes will be opened and then I will see. He never left me. He was here all along.
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Papa God, thank you that you are with us. You never leave us or forsake us. Thank you that we can know in those times that we cannot feel you or hear from you, you are still there. You walk on the roads of life with us. Help us remember what is really true. You came, You died, You rose again so that we might live.
©copyright: 2008 Julie L. Todd
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