Silence Doesn't Mean Absence
Saturday - August 15th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Psalm 77:1-3
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 7:21-29
All night long I prayed,
with hands lifted toward heaven,
but my soul was not comforted.
Psalm 77:2 (NLT)
The entire fleet of the allied invasion of Normandy in World War II underwent complete radio silence so as not to alert the Germans. The allies wanted the element of surprise. The radio silence went on so long that the first word regarding the invasion and its progress came to London via an RAF carrier pigeon named Gustav.
Yes, the British mainland got its first update from a bird whose official British airforce identification was NPS.42.31066. The flight took Gustav 5 hours and 16 minutes. He received a military award in Britain for his efforts. Unfortunately, Gustav died a terrible, accidental death. One of his handlers in the RAF accidentally stepped on him!
By using carrier pigeons to communicate with British military command, the allies fooled the German forces with the radio silence. By default, the German army defenses at Normandy believed that continued silence meant the absence of enemy forces. It did not. While many lives were lost in the invasion, D-Day turned the tide of the war.
Silence does not always mean absence. I have experienced times in my life that God seemed completely quiet. His Word did not speak into my experience. His Spirit provided no comfort. No follower of Christ could say anything that helped me in my desperation. God seemed silent. During those occasions of "radio silence" from God, I doubted His presence. If He were with me, He would surely let me hear something from Him that might provide some sense of relief. Many of us conclude that God's silence in times of difficulty simply confirms His absence. When we do, we plunge ourselves into an even deeper experience of discomfort, confusion, and pain.
Today we begin a 5-day look at Psalm 77. Each devotional over these five days will highlight a section of this Psalm of such pain and discomfort. The Psalmist cried out at a personal point of despair, "All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted" (Psalm 77:2 NLT). Have you been there? Have you cried your heart out to God? Have you lifted your heart and your hands toward heaven, pleading for Him to intervene? Did His perceived silence leave you believing He was absent? Have you experienced times when your soul was not comforted?
Throughout the Scriptures, God reminds His children that He is and will be with them wherever they go. In Hebrews 13:5, God says, "I will never leave you." What a promise!
No matter how you feel or how silent God seems, He never leaves you. As His child, His perceived silence cannot be linked to His absence. His promise to you is His presence with you!
Every time you feel like God has left you to walk alone during the challenges of your life, repeat His promise out loud. "I will never leave you!" Say it out loud a few times today. Familiarize yourself with the truth that He is with you on the mountain tops and in the valleys! Hold onto His promise!
Remember, just because God is silent, it doesn't mean that He is absent.