Have you ever cried out to God only to be met by silence? You don’t get any answers, you don’t feel peace, and the only sound you hear is your own sobbing as your heart breaks.
Maybe you’ve even wondered, “Where are you, God? Don’t you care about me? Don’t you see what’s happening?”
I once asked God those very words. (For those of you who know me, you’ve probably heard this story. What can I say? I’m still learning from it.)
Years ago, I had questions for God, life-altering questions, so I went in our backyard to get away from everyone and everything. I needed silence. I needed to hear God in that silence.
Only God didn’t answer me. So I asked Him to let me see a butterfly if He cared about me. Just a glimpse, Lord. I looked all around our yard, in the trees that surrounded me, and in the grass. No butterfly.
I felt as if something inside of me had completely broken.
Days went by and I was so discouraged and deeply depressed. No one could help or offer any comfort. This was between God and me. And how I saw it during that painful silence, God let me down.
At that time, I had a job cleaning the church we attended. I grabbed my cleaning supplies and started on the outside of the glass doors. I noticed a moth trapped in a spider’s web on the door frame and did my best to rescue it from that monster. (What can I say? I really don’t like spiders.)
But when I finally pulled the moth free, I realized it wasn’t a moth at all: On my fingertip, I felt the gentle “pop” of a newborn, monarch butterfly’s wings as they opened for the first time; the dark, ginger-colored wings were still wet.
I held that butterfly for a long time. Watching in awe as it opened and closed its wings to dry them.
In that moment, God spoke so lovingly, so perfectly to my heart that I won’t ever forget it. He was telling me in a very real, very tangible way that He does hear me, He sees me when I cry, and He loves me enough to teach me the hard lessons.
The hard lesson of waiting on God. The hard lesson that sometimes He is silent.
Perhaps you’re there today, waiting on God, asking for an answer, and you’re being met by His silence.
My dear friend, please understand that God loves you more than you and I can possibly understand. You see, He is preparing you and teaching you to trust Him. He’s growing your faith in Him.
Just like the butterfly needs the struggle of emerging from the chrysalis in order to strengthen its wings so it can fly, we need the struggle to strengthen our faith so we learn to trust God more deeply as we walk closer to Him.
And when we walk closer to God, we learn the difference between His silence when we’ve disobeyed Him and sinned and need to repent, and when He is using the silence to teach us.
So if you’re hurting today and there is silence at the end of your prayer, don’t stop seeking God’s truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything, any sin that is keeping you from a closer walk with God.
And if you find silence at the end of that request as well, then remember God’s silence can be a temporary tool that teaches you about your loving Heavenly Father who never leaves you.
Even when He is silently holding you.
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5b NLT.)