“So—who is like me? Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy. Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name—so magnificent! so powerful!” – God through Isaiah 40:25-26
God’s hand holds this back and releases that. He speaks and earth shudders. He whispers and peace falls like flakes of snow with a promise to blanket. He shuts out the sky and opens up the earth. With a shrug, it could all be over. With a nod, it could all begin again.
There are those who argue that God does not impose His purposes on those who want to go their own way. But, He can dry a path in the sea only to release the dam of His purpose like a monstrous swallow. Sometimes God shows up like a relentless avalanche of discomfort and a slow moving ambulance.
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. -John 11:5-6
He does whatever He wants without apparent regard to how you feel, what you treasure, or who you love. He has a purpose that reaches beyond your thread count or your blueprints.
The infringement. The disregard. He gives you a glimpse, only to make you wait so long you lose it. He makes you work out only to cancel the race. He fans your excitement and makes you watch the fire die. The wild goose chase of faith and certainty.
Of what are you certain? Certain that He’ll show up on time? Certain that He’ll pave your path? ‘All you have to do is ask’, so you ask and ask and He returns your prayers with silence.
Why does the God, who has storm clouds at His feet and a saddle for cherubim (psalm 18), seem to saunter when you call?
“Master, save us! We’re going down!” -Matthew 8:24-25
You’re a storm inside. Your hopes are in a boat that is being overtaken by the Sea of the Unknown. What good is the power of prayer, the power of having the Creator at your beck and call, if He doesn’t pick up the phone?
Then [Lord] call and I will answer, or let me speak, and You answer me. -Job 13:22 AMP
We know we have an audience. We know that when we whimper, His throne room shudders. We believe in His sovereignty when it serves us. We trust His control, when it works in our obvious favor. When things go wrong, we give homage to evil and to ungodliness. Our half-developed faith has us missing God in the silence. Missing God in the waiting…in the pain of struggle.
Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing.” -John 11:14-15
You can’t control God. Evil isn’t winning. There is a reason for death. There is a motive for the end. There is purpose in your pain, use for your failure and guidance in your brick walls.
We’re told to fear God. Why fear a god who is tied up by the wrong prayers? ‘Get it right and all your dreams will come true.’ I would have more respect for the prayers. We’re told to trust God. Why trust a god who cannot impose his will on a willful race? I would trust human nature more.
God is not a domesticated beast who sits when He’s told to sit and fetches what you tell Him to fetch. If anyone is on a leash, it’s you. You talk a good talk. Can you stand?
“Gird up your loins now like a man; I will demand of you, and you answer Me.” -God in Job 40:7 AMP (emphasis mine)
He wants you to know Him. When you know Him, you’ll trust Him. His reasons go far beyond your awareness. He is trusting you with His silence.
The death of self. The mourning of loss. The waiting. The doubting. The tear bruised cheeks. And then the dust coming up the road. The thunder in the dark clouds. The same voice that commands the sun to rise and kneel and the stars to gather and glitter is the very voice that ends the pain with a dominating….
“Remove the stone.” -John 11:39
“Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass.-Matthew 8:26
But, where is hope when circumstance controls?
“Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!” –John 11:39
Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” –John 11:43
Life from death. Freedom through pain. Grace made evident by failure.
“What’s going on here? Wind and sea come to heel at his command!” –Matthew 8:27
“Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” –John 11:40