My life today went something like this:
Me: Hi God. So I’m freaking out right now about some big theological issue with no clear answers. I’m feeling super confused, and I would love some clarity. Can you spell this one out for me in black and white? Please?
God: Not now. This isn’t the time for that. But how about a reminder of a time I was there for you, in the midst of that one crisis three years ago? Or that other crisis, last year? Take a look at your life, where you are now, what I’ve taught you, and the ways you’ve grown. Trust me, I am never going to leave you.
Oh, also — you know how you’ve overspent your budget for groceries this week? Here’s someone who is going to buy you lunch and dinner for today.
Me: Wait … what?
Yeah, not where I was going, but maybe that’s okay.
To quote C.S. Lewis, in a reflection on pain, suffering, and the death of his wife–
“When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.'”
It feels like God and I have this exchange way too often. Would I rather God spoke audibly, instead of looking on with a silent gaze? I mean, yes. But I know that’s not how this whole faith thing works.
God’s silence isn’t inaction. I see God working in my life — guiding me, teaching me, challenging me to grow — but it’s very rarely on my timeline, and it’s not often that it will take the shape or form I expect.
A lot of times, God and I aren’t on the same page. That is okay: I’m a human. God is God. We see the world from very different perspectives.
But instead of feeling frustrated when God is silent, how can I shift my focus to try to see things through God’s perspective, not mine? How can I have eyes that see where God is working — instead of feeling frustrated when God doesn’t address things on my timeline?
It isn’t easy. But I hope I can learn to recognize God’s presence and care, even when God doesn’t surprise me with meal or two of free food as a reminder.
(Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have leftover Thai food to finish for dinner. And it’s probably the best thing I’ve eaten all week.)