Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lesson 3 - When God is Silent is He really working in my life?

I think the hardest times in our lives are when it feels God is silent. We see no visible work in our life. We feel like our prayers our bouncing off the ceiling. We may feel God is working in everyone’s life but our own. We fall at his feet and want relief. Is God still working in those times? You bet he is and there is so much evidence in Scripture to prove that point.

In a particularly difficult time in my life, when it seemed God was not working, I wrote in my journal after a prayer time these words that God spoke to me, “The road will be long, but I will prevail. You will need to be patient and trust me.” Those were difficult words to hear and difficult words to live out, but God was faithful and he did prevail. I have often heard people say after going through a difficult time they would not trade the experience for an easier time due to how close they became to God. I always found that statement a little difficult to hear and believe. You can count me in now. I would not trade my difficult times for the precious time I had diving into God’s word and seeing his promises and claiming them. I would look forward to my time with God and what he had to show me in his Word. God would show me time and time again that the promises in the Bible were for me as well and I clung to them and to him.

Ultimately, I think God wants us to give it all to him and trust him even when it seems he is silent.

Let’s look to the Scripture and look at one example of many in the Bible when God was silent, yet still working. I would love to do a whole Bible Study series on this one issue, because the Bible is full of examples.

Read the entire book of Ruth, it only has four chapters.

Answer the following questions:

Look in Ruth 1:1-4, list all the changes that occurred to Ruth and Naomi in
a 10 year period. What do you think their stress level was?

Read the famous verse, used in wedding ceremonies, Ruth 1:16. Let’s
look at it with a different eye. What do you see about Ruth and her faith?
From her experience so far, how do you think she viewed God?

As you read Ruth, list the times when Ruth and Naomi had no one to
depend on, but God.

If you were Ruth or Naomi, what would you be feeling when you had lost
your husband? Would you feel God is silent?

God is mentioned indirectly in Ruth, yet list how God is working behind
the scenes of this story.

There is so much more we could see and look for in Ruth. Ruth and Naomi were in abject poverty, gleaning wheat from the edges of the field. Was God there in their distress? Yes. Did he provide? Yes, even more than they could imagine.
Were they faithful even during God’s silence? Yes. What a lesson for us to learn.
We can be faithful, in spite of not hearing or seeing God work.

My concern, especially for women, is we are so emotional (a good thing) and in touch with our feelings. Often we may not “feel” God is working in our lives, but we have to trust that he is working whether we feel it or not. Faith is a fact not a feeling. We can have faith in God whether we “feel” like we want to or not. Faith is a volitional commitment.

We can learn from Ruth’s very young faith, remember she wasn’t even a Jew, but a Gentile, that God will take care of us, provide for us, and protect us. Ruth, being a young widow was in a very vulnerable position in a country that was not her home. She had so many reasons to feel uncomfortable on so many different levels and so many reasons not to trust. Yet, she chose to trust even when she could not see the outcome.

Answer the following questions and please share them with the Discussion Board:

What one or more than one thing can you learn from Ruth’s story that
applies to you directly?

Can you share a time that God seemed silent in your life, but he was
working mightily behind the scenes?

Do you have a hard time with feelings getting in the way when it
comes to faith?

What encouragement could you give to a friend or a woman here
about when God is silent in their lives?

5. Anything else you would like to share?

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