Starting a church is not for the faint of heart or faith.
One of these moments happened about a month ago for me. We were crossing a threshold in a fundraiser we were having for the needed funds for The Purpose Community Church. Crossing this threshold meant we were going to miss our goal by a long shot. I’ll be honest, you get tired of raising money during the church planting process but it takes a lot of money to start a church in a healthy, stable position.
When we passed by this benchmark, I started having real doubt issues about being able to raise the money needed. And then the Devil began dancing in my thoughts. I remember praying a lot, “Lord…something. A sign? A check? A miracle?” It was pretty pathetic looking back, but at the time—God was pretty silent.
Psalm 89 has been one of those Psalms that confesses the struggles of a believer in the Lord who is struggling with God’s apparent lack of “showing up.” He has struggled with the stark silence of the Lord when he called out and now, as this Psalm concludes, we read in verses 46-52:
How long, Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all humanity! Who can live and not see death, or who can escape the power of the grave? Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David? Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations, the taunts with which your enemies, Lord, have mocked, with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.
Can you hear the pain? He’s reaching out through the darkness and asking, “where are You, Lord?” And the answer is silence. He’s left to wrestle through all his questions in apparent silence.
“Where is your former great love?” he asks. From all indications, the Psalmist didn’t see any evidence of this great love.
Can you identify with the pain?
Have there been times—maybe even right now as you’re reading this—when the Lord seems so distant and so quiet? And all the Christian platitudes and clichés thrown your way? They only seem to make you mad and actually seem to make the silence worse.
But the answer to your silence is the same as the Psalmist’s: the way of faith is one we walk even when all we know how to do is walk.
If the Psalmist got his answer, he never wrote it down. And you might not either.
But—read this carefully—when you learn to walk in faithfulness the answer doesn’t seem as important. Perhaps you don’t feel that way right now and that’s okay. But there WILL come a day when you will look back and realize the incredible faith the Lord was teaching you through the silence.
It’s a lesson you can only learn when He gives you a chance to just walk with Him in silence.