Imagine that you have decided, and then started to take up a program in a subject that interests you. You seem to have a natural knack or tendency toward this subject, and there is no doubt in your mind that this is something that will be good for you. You have searched your soul, done your homework, spoken to various people, and are ready to embark on your new journey.
The beginning of the course is exciting and overwhelming. The course curriculum seems harder or more intensive than you envisioned. You are excited at learning all the things that you did not even know existed within this realm, however, you are also petrified at the work that seems to lie ahead of you. Suddenly, you are not sure that you are cut out for this, or will be able to complete the course based on your budget, and current obligations. You are however committed to completing what you start. You are willing to take it day by day.
As you progress through the course you discover ways of learning and studying, that allow you to organize your life. The course may be difficult, but you are loving every minute of it, and suddenly, the curriculum is not as depressing as it seemed before. The first few chapters or instructions in the course, lead you to believe that things are much harder than they appear to be. It would seem, as it does in life, that it is our imaginings that make things appear more complex than they really are.
You are able to successfully complete the tasks assigned throughout the course, gearing for the mid-term exam. The exam may be particularly stressful to you. Regardless, you are able to complete the mid-term and final exams satisfactorily, so that you may now embark on the next course in the program, in this path you have now decided for yourself.
The next course builds on what was previously learned. The work is more taxing and harder to grasp. There are a lot of unrelated and diverse things being introduced, and a part of you wonders what you signed yourself up for. There are times as you go along, that you wish you had never started the program, and now only look forward to its completion. You are not even aiming to finish at the top, just need to pass. You are almost forgetting what about this course made you decide to take it in the first place, and what you were to do with it once completed.
At the heart of it, the only thing that will give you the strength to complete this program, is your love of the subject matter. You have made the decision to align your future work with the completion of this program, and it is this goal that enables you to struggle on, even though more times than not, all anything feels like, is a struggle.
When we pray and speak to our Lord, it is our love of Him and our goal to keep Him in our sights, that we can only turn and cleave to. Sometimes we may question our faith and its practicality in our lives, the longer we live, and the more we see. Sometimes we may only see a fog and no future within our sights. Sometimes, it is hard to see where we are going or what we are to do, and the signs and gifts we look for, are all but absent. It would seem sometimes, that the very characteristics and behaviours we have fought so hard to get rid of, surface in the face of uncertainty and discouragement, so that we wonder whether we had real faith to begin with.
This is all a part of the program. It cannot be simple and easy. It cannot be clear. Our dependence at this time, is simply on the love of the Lord, so that above our will, we subject ourselves to His. It means continually walking and talking to Christ, regardless of the silence, and knowing that He is there, whether we can see Him or not. He sees the bigger and final picture. Our desire to stay in the faith and walk our journey cannot entirely be motivated by the signs and blessings we receive on a continual basis, as way of encouragement. We must always move, pray, speak and trust, for we can believe that “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose (NIV Rom 8:28).”
God does what He does for His reasons. When He is silent in our lives, He has His reasons, and they have nothing to do with punishment. If we continue in our habitual walk and talk with Him, we know that He is with us, and is working as we speak or attempt to discern the fog. Things will not make sense. The future will seem very uncertain and rocky. Our current lives will seem purposeless and bereft of happiness. Relationships will test our resolve. Money, health and faith dissolution will bombard us as we attempt to walk in the fog.
Be encouraged. We are not the first, and nor will we be the last to have moments, days or years of lack of clarity. These are experiences that people share in their humanity. It is a myth to think that believers do not suffer dark, lonely and unforgiving nights in our personal storms. It is a myth to think that we are exempt from human weaknesses in fighting feelings of hopelessness or fear. In all these things however, we chose our God. Because we love our God, we continue to walk in the fog, the rain and the darkness, for it is in this display, that we express our faith.
When the fog passes, we walk out stronger in our relationship with God. We can then see how He used these opportunities to purify us, to rid us of elements that would keep us away from Him. If we consider ourselves fortunate to pass various course examinations, and proceed to higher level courses, we must not exempt ourselves from these thoughts with our God and His program requirements.
He will never give us more than we can handle, and He is always with us. His silence is an opportunity for us to rely on our love of Him, and there within lies our outmost desire to do only His will. What God leads you to, He will bring you through. It is His will that He is exacting on your life. No matter the situation or circumstance, He has it under control in the silence.