Some days, I really don’t feel like following Jesus. Today is one of those days.
No event has occurred that should make me want to give up on Jesus. I’ve spent less time on my quiet times, but I haven’t abandoned them altogether. When I do engage in God’s Word, I’m learning more about His character and about my flaws. But recently I’ve felt an overwhelming silence. Almost like God is with me but is choosing to ignore me.
Good can come out of silence. God was once silent for 400 years, from the time He spoke to His people through prophets to the time He entered the world Himself. I’d say that end to silence probably surpassed the agony of the Silent Age. We no longer have to fear a lack of communication with God, since the presence of God dwells within followers of Christ through the Holy Spirit. What a reason to rejoice!
It’s just that, right now, I’m not feeling it.
Right now I’m hearing an echo of my own thoughts that I assumed would reach God’s ears. I have no reason to believe that God is distancing Himself from me; on the contrary, the Bible teaches us that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). So it must be something on my end.
“I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.”
Psalm 66:17-18 (NIV)
Wow–so cherishing sin in my heart can soundproof my “war room?” (I don’t actually have a designated prayer space, but maybe I need one.) If so, I need some drastic changes.
I’ve never experienced such pain and such healing in one song like I have with “Eustace Scrubb.” I encourage you to take three minutes to listen to it, especially if you’ve read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. In this story, a selfish boy is transformed into a dragon as a result of his greed. The only way for him to be restored to his original state is for Aslan, the sovereign lion, to tear his flesh; Eustace can’t do it on his own. I think this is a beautiful metaphor for the pain and necessity of surrender to Jesus.
Referencing the metaphor of Eustace’s encounter with Aslan, this song depicts the exhaustion of attempting to fix one’s own sin problem. It includes a prayer of humility, asking Jesus to heal the deepest parts of a sinful heart. Although the process of transformation that follows an encounter with Jesus may be painful, it is ultimately less painful than remaining in sin.
I’m thankful for this period of painful silence the Lord has allowed me to endure. It’s shown me my need for a transformed heart. While I choose to remind my brain of the truth that God is with me, I will wait for Him to alter my heart to feel that truth.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Heal my heart.
Cut deep to the root of my sin problem.
Remove any barrier to my affections for You.
Place in me a stronger desire to hear Your voice.
May this period of supposed silence lead me to rejoice in Your presence all the more.
Emily (@ejenkins220) is an author and editor at thegracescripts.com. She is passionate about ministry + sharing in her brokenness. Emily currently attends Samford University and is studying Religion. She lives in Alabama.