The silence is all we hear sometimes. Reverberating off the walls, echoing from the bare floors and bouncing back into your lap – silence makes prayer a discipline.
We have been praying about a decision for awhile. Not a life changing decision (that we know of) and not desperate prayers, but Lord-please-direct-us prayers, and silence makes the first few steps timid. We walk on in the decision because we haven’t bumped into any doors, no flashing warnings have appeared, and our hearts have peace.
But we are willing to hear answers that may change our direction.
We are like bats or dolphins, I suppose. We send out our signals and wait for reverberation from obstacles in our path. Maybe that’s a faithless way to pray. Maybe I should hear more clearly or expect more fully.
I opened WordPress today to finish up a post I’d been working on. It seems to take me longer these days and I am frustrated by that but not defeated. So the post I’d been working on was going to finish up nicely this morning and meet you all sometime today…but *poof”. Gonzo. The draft had only the first few lines of incoherent beginnings that I’d started with a week ago.
I didn’t cry. I was mildly irritated, but chalked it up to human error and maybe possibly Divine Intervention – so I’m really ok with my posts going *poof* if that’s how God wants to answer me. I’m letting go of it because nothing is too precious to be turned over to God.
And that sounds really nice and mature.
Let me tell you the truth, though. I knew that post wasn’t all that and it contained more struggle than I really cared to broadcast. If it had been more precious to me; if my blood had run a little hotter when I wrote it or my heart had been more passionate about those words, I would have fought for it.
I would have frantically googled “find my lost wordpress post” or “recover wordpress draft”. My kids would have cooked for themselves and schooled themselves while I emailed my internet guru friends, and by midday my googles would have turned to “I hate the internet” and “quick and easy brownies before someone dies recipe”.
[click “save draft” now]
The silence was ok because it was an answer I could live with. Sometimes it’s not.
There are different silences and different interpretations. There’s the silence of the morning, when the house is sleeping and the sun is rising over the neighbor’s place and I hear the birds. The second hand on the clock. A child who always groans, rolls over, and falls back to sleep around 6 a.m. Coffee pouring.
Lovely silence that’s really not silent, but peaceful and methodical.
There’s the silence of the child-cocooning-to-adult who won’t speak with words but the body language, the screaming eyes and angry mouth and irritated breaths. Volumes and decibels colliding with hormones and emotions. Too silent.
And there’s the silence of heart-wrenching prayer and freezing indecision, of being forced to walk blind and live raw and not knowing if God is angry or mute or good or even paying attention.
Silence is golden and also rusted iron gates. Silence bothers us at the wrong time and comforts us at the right time; and all the time, there is a response to it that reveals our heart.
God is not truly silent. He is of the communicative-type, the Creator of words and the Word Himself. It’s our faith and what we hope for that is evidence of the things we don’t see, or hear, or feel at times. If God is not audible to my praying and waiting and listening heart, He is still saying something.
What am I really hoping for?
The words in that post-draft went somewhere and taught me something.
So. The silence of your prayers. What do you do with it?