Filling The Void

Filling The Void

When’s the last time you heard from God? There are times in my life when God just seems to be silent. Silent times like these aren’t anything new. In fact, scripture is filled with times where people don’t hear anything from God. These people who experience the silent treatment, aren’t nobodies either. These are spiritual heroes that we learned about in Sunday School! Take Job for example. He was all in for God, and all of a sudden, experienced the fullness of God’s silence. Abraham was called by God to offer up his son, Isaac. During that journey, God was silent. Years later, Joseph spent years in prison, and the Bible doesn’t make any mention of God talking to him.

In 1 Kings 17, God comes to Elijah and tells him that there will be a severe drought in the near future. The next chapter begins with something interesting, “After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah…” These many days turned out to be 3.5 years! For 3.5 years God didn’t move. For 3.5 years Elijah the prophet hadn’t heard from God. Sometimes God is just silent. We’ve all been where Elijah was. We’ve all been desperately waiting to hear from God, only to receive nothing. No words, no burden, just silence. These moments are a part of our everyday walk with Christ. That’s why it’s important to know how to get through them. Here’s a few suggestions on how you can fill the void.

 

A Silent Opportunity

Has God been silent lately? What if you were to approach this time as an opportunity? Use this time to assess your spiritual health. How is your walk with Christ? Are you struggling with sin? Use this time of silence to confront that pattern of sin in your life. Maybe you can remember the passion you had for Jesus when you first came to know Him, and yet the passion you have today pales in comparison. You can remember how joyful you were when you first realized that Jesus died for your sins and then was raised from the dead. But that joy is long gone. You’ve lost your first love. Use this time of silence to fall in love with God again. Get back to the way things were at first. Don’t look at this time of silence as an obstacle to overcome. These times are far from obstacles. Count it an opportunity.

 

Time To Trust

We’ve all been there. You haven’t heard from God in a while, and you’re really hoping you hear something and soon because it’s getting tough to trust. You might even say that this silence is pushing you to doubt. God’s been silent for a while. Does He really care about what I’m going through? Am I even on His radar anymore? Is He even there? It’s questions like these that we begin to ask when God is silent. I’ll admit it: I don’t hear from God everyday. Yes, I’m in ministry and I’m called to push people to Jesus. But that doesn’t mean I hear from God everyday.  Sometimes there are these times of silence, where I don’t hear anything new from God. Satan loves these silent times. The devil tries to convince me that these silent times are my own doing. He even encourages doubt. I’m not proud of it, but sometimes the king of this world gets through to me. These voids cause good people to stumble, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Instead of doubting, why not place more trust in God?

 

Be On Alert

No matter what, don’t forget what we’re really supposed to be doing. Don’t give up hope. Sure, sometimes God is just silent. That doesn’t mean we can be too. No matter what God is up to, we have a job to do. We need to continue to place our trust in Him. We must continue to wait on Him and watch for Him. Just because you haven’t seen Him at work, or haven’t heard from Him, doesn’t mean you have a free pass to take a break until something changes. Get to work! Listen closely for something from God. Pay close attention to God working around you. If you do, you’ll make surviving the silence a lot easier.

 

I don’t like it, but sometimes God just seems to be silent. These can be tough times. I hope that the next time God is silent, that you’ll decide to look at this as an opportunity. I hope you’ll challenge yourself to place more trust in Him, and above all be watchful for God. Never lose hope. Is God silent? Fill the void.

 

(Photo by Flickr User: Dananjaya Chathuranga Photography)

Cornhuskers

A New Journey

If you haven’t found out by now, it’s time you know: we’re moving. For the past several months, my wife and I have had this looming sense that there’s somewhere else that God wants us. After what seems like thousands of resumes being sent out, we’ve come to the conclusion that Holdrege, Nebraska is where we’re supposed to be. If you know anything about Holdrege, you know that it’s considered the best place to raise a family in the whole state of Nebraska, and from what Amanda and I can tell from a couple short visits out there: it truly is. The people are down-to-earth, the atmosphere is inviting, and the community is almost too good to be true. A few short weeks ago, I accepted a call to be the Pastor of Student Ministries at Trinity Church. Opportunity knocked, and Amanda and I knew it was time to open the door.

The Old Testament story of Esther is one that reads much like a short novel. It’s filled with excited twists, and nerve-racking moments of faith. Esther wasn’t always a queen. She grew up parentless, in a Jewish household, but eventually God entrusted her with the position of Queen. At the same time, her people were in danger. God’s chosen people faced extermination, like they did several times throughout history. Though, this time was different. A decree was sent out directly by the King, making it legal for the extermination of the Jewish people. Esther was given a unique position beside the King to do something about it. Opportunity knocked just like it does in all of our lives today. It was what happened next that’s worth writing about.

 

Open The Door

Even though Esther was the Queen, things weren’t so good. In fact, her world was falling apart. Her people were at risk of being wiped from the face of the earth. She was at risk of extermination herself. As Queen, she could either sit back and watch her people die (and hope nobody finds out that she was Jewish too!), or she could do something about it. It wasn’t easy for Esther, but she knew she had to do something. A decree had been given by the King. If one were to disobey the King, bad things could happen. Esther gathered up the faith to stand in the midst of the King and say, “Stop!“. For Esther, opportunity knocked and she opened the door.

Opportunity knocks for each and every one of us. Whether it’s an opportunity to give financially, or to share with those around us how God has worked in our own lives. Opportunities to do good and to share the love of Christ are everywhere! But these opportunities never come easy. Acting on opportunity takes faith. Amanda and I know just how hard it is when opportunity comes around. Everything comes with a cost. For us, moving to Nebraska brings us 13.5 hours away from family. It’s not easy, but when opportunity knocks we need to open the door.

 

God-Given Opportunities

The decree had been issued. Esther, as Queen, had the opportunity to do something about it. For her, even as Queen, it wasn’t easy. Her cousin Mordecai, who helped raise Esther, gave her a piece of advice that’s worth remembering…

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” -Esther 4:14 (ESV)

Mordecai reminds Esther of God’s sovereignty. He reminds her that she’s been put in place by God for a reason, and that she shouldn’t pass up on a God-given opportunity. Esther realized that Mordecai was right. Some opportunities are given to us by God. These are the ones we should never pass on. Amanda and I came to the realization that the opportunity to do ministry in Nebraska was one that was God-given.

 

This upcoming change isn’t going to be easy. These past few years at Hillside Bible Church in mid-Michigan have been a great learning experience. I’ve been blessed with a wide variety of opportunities. I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime. I’ll miss interacting with the youth group on a weekly basis. We’ll both be sad to leave what we know for what’s so new and uncertain. But at the same time, Amanda and I are excited to follow God’s call together. We’re looking forward to our new journey. When you’re following God, the future can be uncertain. But I do know that whenever opportunity knocks, it’s time to listen!

 

P.S. – Be sure to follow Amanda’s blog as we make the journey west!

 

 

(Photo by: Statson Photography)

 

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