In my last post, Golden Silence, I shared about feeling nearly submerged in water, and how my prayers seemed to be met with silence. I was reminded of times I had responded with silence as a parent, which led me to recognize that perhaps God was speaking, after all. And with that, I expressed a desire to go for the gold in God’s “silence” and glean all he wanted to share with me.
So, I’ve been on a mining expedition the last few weeks. Reflecting, learning, and listening for God’s guidance in my situation. Perhaps my expedition will be helpful for yours.
First, let me say that my overall circumstances have not changed much, but my outlook has.
Specifically, my struggle is the downturned economy and the sudden impact it has had on my construction business this past November until now.
The truth is I’m not as anxious as I have been, although to look around, the water is just as menacing and chilly. Solid footing seems very, very far off. But God’s presence is near and dear. I’ve moved from head knowledge to my heart, fully accepting in peace that God has a purpose and plan.
Recently, I heard a pastor say that when we experience difficulty, we can be in such a hurry for it to be over that we fail to learn the lessons of patience, perseverance and character God wants to teach us.
This resonated with my desire to go for the gold in God’s “silence”. So, with pen and journal in hand, I returned to the points enumerated in Golden Silence to begin looking for the lessons. I discovered that these points actually formed a scope and sequence lesson plan for my prayerful reflection.
I began from the top with Slippery Slope silence, those times when God appears silent because we need to come clean with something before God. After seeking a pure heart and God’s cleansing, we moved on to Think About it Silence. This study entailed considering what God had already told me through his Word, experiences and the wisdom of others.
Since my trial relates to money, business decisions and survival in this economy, I started with Bible verses and made a list of what I knew about God’s care. I was reminded of God’s promise to supply my needs (Phil. 4:19), to give wisdom (James 1:5), and that he’ll never fail me (Hebrews 13:5) to name just a few.
The Think About It study also led me to reflect on God’s use of common sense. Specifically, there had been so many times God had come through just in the nick of time, I was looking for him to do the same this time.
In short, I was waiting for a miracle, and my eyes were steadily on the horizon. But when I shifted my eyes back to our financials and project calendar, and asked God if I was missing something, common sense became strikingly clear. If cutting expenses, adjusting labor costs, and looking for new projects were not making the grade, common sense would suggest the need for another income source for survival. After all, isn’t the fact we have common sense God can use to guide us equally a miracle? (Forgive me, God for taking such a wonderful gift for granted….)
There have been other Think About It insights from this lesson, too, including things to do differently in the future. This is a study I will continue to put before the Lord to listen and learn.
The gold I’ve discovered so far directly led to the lesson for Missing the Message silence. This point involves not hearing God’s voice because we are focused on our own agenda.
In my case, as I’ve continued to put the business before the Lord, I’ve learned to release preconceived notions of how financial health will come. In fact, I’ve even asked God if it is his plan that we continue with the company, period! (Or at least in the way the company is configured right now.)
I’m open to whatever God says, but I don’t feel he’s leading us to close our doors just yet. To the contrary, I believe we will look back on this point in the future, and see how the lessons God is teaching us now were turning points for business and spiritual growth.
Which brings me to the last lesson, Go For It silence, where God’s apparent silence is actually saying, “Try it, I’m with you, you’ll be fine.” For me, that has meant being open-minded and creative.
I’ve brushed off my resume, revisited my skill set, gifts and interests, and have prayerfully put myself out there to see where God may lead in terms of additional income potential.
I’m also looking at the company with fresh eyes and creative vision, studying business strategies and finding support resources to look for ways God may be leading the company to Go for It, as well.
Do you hear a little excitement in my voice? It’s there!
As I said above, my circumstances have not changed much and, at face value, things are still scary. But I no longer feel God is silent. His golden direction is plentiful and the lessons rich. I’m a mining student, on a mission to learn, as I wait on the Lord.
Join in the dialogue of encouragement! Share a comment about what lessons you are learning or have learned about hearing God in difficult times?
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. . . (Ephesians 3:20)