We all go through those times in life when God is silent. We cry out to God but hear nothing in response. These times in life can rattle our faith. They can cause us to question everything. Many people in the Bible such as David, Job, and Joseph faced this.
What is it that we need to understand in those times when God is silent? Here are four things to keep in mind.
1- God’s Silence Does Not Indicate Inactivity.
Just because God is not speaking does not mean that He is not working. God is always at work. It might not be on our time-table or on our schedule, but God is at work.
2- God’s Silence Does Not Mean He Is Not Listening.
The tendency is to think that because we cannot hear God He must not be listening. When we begin thinking this way we stop crying out to God. We begin to incorrectly assume that since He is not listening, He must not care. Therefore, there is no need in me calling out to Him or relying on Him.
The reality is that when God is silent, we need to rely on Him even more.
3- Sometimes We Don’t Hear God Because We Are Talking Too Much.
Perhaps we can’t hear God because we are too busy advising God as to what He needs to do. Being quiet does not mean that we stop crying out to God or that we don’t demonstrate our dependence upon God, but it does mean we stop giving God advice.
We need to stop treating God like our spare tire that is there in case of emergency and more like our steering wheel that guides us every step of the way.
4- God Wants To Teach Us Through Our Circumstances.
Since God is in control, is always at work, and has our best interest in mind, we can conclude that whatever we are going through is a tool in God’s hand to teach us and grow us.
The key is our response. Patience is what is needed. However, we should remember that patience is not a passive concept. It is not sitting back and doing nothing. It is actively doing what we know we should be doing while we wait on God to speak and intervene concerning our current trial.
There are going to be times in life when God is silent. I have been there and responded incorrectly. I have learned that even though God may seem to be silent, He still speaks. If you are in a valley and it seems that God is silent, spend more time in Scripture and realize that God is speaking to you through His Word.
Stress is part of life that can come from a variety of sources. As a pastor, I not only have stress in my own life and ministry, but I also talk to people on a weekly basis who are on the verge of crumbling under the weight of a stress-filled life.
How should Christians deal with stress? Here are five keys to keep in mind.
1- Keep the negative in perspective.
In the heat of the moment it is easy to allow small things to become big things. I have to fight this temptation. Is a cup of spilt juice a bid deal? Not really. Is traffic really a life-altering event? No, but it is easy to let those kinds of circumstances ruin a day. They can change our mood and attitude. The cumulative effect of those small things can create stress that weighs us down. Don’t let it. Keep the negative circumstances in perspective.
2- Live in agreement with your purpose.
This requires that you actually know what your purpose is. I am assuming that you know why you exist. If you can answer that foundational question, then be intentional about living in agreement with that purpose. Perhaps the stress in your life is caused by a life lived in contradiction to what you know your God-given purpose to be.
3- Have an outlet.
Everyone needs an outlet. Maybe it’s going to the gym, the golf course, a coffee shop, the gun range, or simply taking a walk. Whatever the outlet is for you, prioritize it. Without it, the steam inside will build until you explode.
4- Value things that really matter.
This is tough because what we say we value may not actually be what we value. Materialism drives many people in our culture. Many Christians are consumed with the desire for more. In light of eternity, those pursuits really don’t matter. Determine what it is that should matter to you, then value and prioritize it in your life.
5- Be willing to get help.
There are some people who have so much on them that the stress is real. It is not the result of wrong priorities or not knowing one’s purpose. For some people it is simply the cumulative effects of a life filled with trying circumstances. I have sat with people who are dealing with this kind of stress. They are doing all they can do on their own, but it’s not enough. For these people, they need to seek help from others. The Bible calls Christians to bear each other’s burdens. This implies that we allow others to help us. Don’t be so prideful that you fail to get the help you may need.
Stress is real. Sometimes we bring it on ourselves. Other times we are simply facing the results of a sinful world. Regardless of the cause, these five truths can help you gain victory over stress.