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Old 11-07-2008, 12:34 PM   #526
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reisterstown, Maryland
Posts: 28,242

Hello to all - hope this will be an an encouragement to everyone who is struggling....

Dear God: Where Are You And Why Don't You Help Me?

The Silence of God

It is hard for us, when we face the difficulties of life, when things get tough, not to give up hope. Often, we want to throw ours hands up and say, "I quit!" But that it is not what God desires for us to do. That is what the devil wants. This idea of "losing hope" comes from our enemy, Satan.

You may be in a difficult situation right now. There seems to be no answer. You might not even be sure that God is listening to your prayers or that He even knows what you are going through. You might even think that God doesn’t care about you. Well, my friend, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Let me begin by saying that God is listening to your prayers and He does know what you are going through. He does care about you and He cares about the difficult places of your life.

But what you are dealing with is called the silence of God. To you, right now, it seems like He is silent, it seems like He is not working and it seems like He doesn’t care.

In the silence of God, try to understand that He is at work and that He does care about you and He loves you. In the silence of God, you have His attention and He is attending to His business. The difficulty comes in not seeing what He is doing. But know this: He has His eye trained on you and you have His undivided attention. He has not left you alone to try to work out your situation on your own.

Consider Lazarus (John chapter 11): Outside the circle of the twelve disciples, two sisters, Mary and Martha, and one brother, Lazarus, were the closest friends of Jesus. Before Jesus was crucified, on the last night that Jesus gets any rest, He spends that time in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

John chapter 11 gives us the account of Lazarus, who was sick and dying. The two sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, had sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was “sick unto death” and He sent word to them that “this sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God”. We know that Jesus could have healed Lazarus by “long distance”. The gospels tell us that Jesus could heal someone without being in the presence of someone. Also, Jesus could have prevented Lazarus from getting sick. How? He is God!

To Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, it seemed like Jesus wasn’t even going to come to help them. It eventually took Jesus four days before He reached Lazarus. There was silence. It seemed to them like He didn’t care. But Jesus knew exactly what He was doing and He knew what He was going to do.

But why did He allow all of this to happen? Why did He allow Lazarus to go through the suffering and this “sickness unto death”? Why did Jesus say to His disciples, regarding Lazarus’ situation, “And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe”. And to magnify the seriousness of the situation that everyone faced after the death and burial of Lazarus, we see Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus. We see the Master’s compassion and love for Lazarus and surely for Mary and Martha in their grief.

What can we learn from the story of Lazarus? That in the silence of God, when it seems like He is not at work, when it seems like He doesn’t care, that there is a greater glory to be revealed and there is a greater testimony.

There was a greater glory to be revealed to them about Jesus. Everyone knew that Jesus could perform miracles. They knew He could multiply food and feed thousands of people. They even knew He could raise people from the dead. But they had never seen Him raise someone back to life who had been dead four days.

What is significant about four days? In the Jewish religion and culture, when a person died, they believed that the person’s spirit hovered over the body for three days. Therefore, a Jewish person was not declared dead until the fourth day. This is part of the reason why Jesus lingered before going to Lazarus. When He raises Lazarus from being dead four days, no one can make the accusation that Lazarus wasn’t “officially” dead. When Jesus calls forth Lazarus by name and Lazarus walks out of the tomb, the greater glory that is revealed about Jesus is that now they know that He has power over life and death.

The greater testimony is for Lazarus. Lazarus' testimony (John 12) was so powerful that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill him because so many people were placing their faith and trust in Jesus. (The humor in this is that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Lazarus. Didn’t they realize that Lazarus had already died once and Jesus brought him back to life? Kill Lazarus ten times. If Jesus wants him to live, He will bring him back to life ten timesJ).

So what can we understand, then, in all of this? How does this apply to someone who has lost hope, ready to give up? How can someone deal with the silence of God?

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, all capable of giving up hope, could do nothing but look to Jesus for help. They couldn’t fix the problem. It was beyond their ability to do anything. What could they do? They could only do one thing now in their desperation: look to Jesus. They would have to trust Him and cling to Him. They would have to rely on Jesus. He would be their only hope. He would be their only help. Only Jesus could do something about the problem that they had encountered.

But the main concern of Jesus was not the circumstance of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus but their relationship to Him and whether or not they would trust Him. (And trust is all about relationship. You can’t trust someone you don’t know personally. The more you get to know someone, the more you can trust them. And when you get to know someone intimately, you can fully trust them no matter what).

Jesus could change their circumstance immediately but what mattered to Jesus was whether or not Mary, Martha, and Lazarus would trust Him. What mattered to Jesus was whether they would cling to Him more than they ever had before. What mattered to Jesus was whether they would rely upon Him more than they had ever relied upon Him before. Their relationship with Jesus was going to go deeper. Their relationship with Jesus was going to have to be more intimate.

And so it is with someone who has lost all hope and is ready to give up; going through difficult circumstances and the silence of God. If this is true of you today, please understand this:

As much as He cares about what you are going through, Jesus cares even more about your relationship to Him, about your trusting Him. Yes, He cares about your circumstance but He cares even more about you. The issue, my dear friend is this: Are you going to trust Him? Are you going to cling to Him? Are you going to rely upon Him?

We know the end of the story. Lazarus is raised from the dead. His health has been restored but more important is that hearts could rejoice because a greater glory had been revealed to them about Jesus.

And Lazarus had that greater testimony. Before he got sick and died, Lazarus was kind of on the “fringe”. Mary, we know, worshipped at Jesus’ feet and at least Martha wanted to serve by working in the kitchen. But Lazarus? Before his sickness, he is just casually mentioned in the gospels as the brother of Mary and Martha. Now, he has that greater testimony.

And you know what? One day...that’s right, one day you will be able to give that greater testimony. One day you will be able to say, along with Lazarus: “Let me tell you what Jesus did for me!”

How is that possible? By trusting Him fully. By trusting Him completely. By trusting Him intimately. By clinging to Him like never before. By relying upon Him like never before. He cares for you and He knows what you are going through.

Why silence? Because there is a greater glory to be revealed to you about who God is and there is a greater testimony for you to share with others!
Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
America will only be the land of the free so long as it is the home of the Brave
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