Read Part One here.
There is one specific passage from Deuteronomy that plays specifically to the problem of suffering and God’s perceived absence, Deuteronomy 11:1-7:
Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; what he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea as they were pursuing you, and how the Lord brought lasting ruin on them. It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the wilderness until you arrived at this place, and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done.
Notice in verse two how there is a reminder that they were not the ones who experienced God first hand, it was their ancestor’s experience. Yet, even though it was not their own experience, it was still valid and did not negate who God is or what He had done.
Therefore, our tendency to forget what we already have heard and seen works to our detriment. We want to live without faith, without thought, without remembrance. We desire to be led blindly but God wants us to live boldly. And to live boldly means that we have to live beyond the desire for constant verification and we have to accept God’s silence. The fact that someone may have had a mountaintop experience twenty years ago and has had nothing since does not negate the fact that they had the experience twenty years ago.
God’s silence is a perception that is based upon our relationship with Him as defined by us. It is not based on the relationship that is defined by Him. To correct this we should become word centered and Holy Spirit led in seeing how God responds and therefore respond to the suffering around us in the same manner. Becoming the physical body of the disembodied God to those who need to see Him. Through this we will become the New Life of Jesus – The Good News, through whom salvation and new life exist.
Through times of trial we must constantly remain in prayer (even if it feels like they are stopped at the ceiling). God’s contact with us is always there but we must stay in communication with Him realizing that it is not a one way street. We should resist the attempts to only communicate with God during times of great difficulty, slipping back into a trick pony relationship, for they only feed the perception of silence. When we remain in constant contact with Him the relationship will flourish, and although we may still have times when He feels distant or silent, we can trust that God’s promises are true.
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