When God is Silent

Today we celebrate Good Friday and we remember all the activities of that fateful day many years ago, when Jesus was crucified. And then we will wait for Easter Sunday to celebrate Jesus’ triumphant resurrection. But what about Saturday? For many of us the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday passes uneventfully. Can you imagine what that day must have been like for Jesus’ disciples and followers? After everything he had said and done, the reality of his death probably sunk in on Saturday as the city returned to normalcy post-burial of Jesus. Their leader was gone; His voice and power and influence silenced in death.

Have you ever felt like you are living in the in-between of life, just like the day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday when God seems silent? When prayers seem to be bouncing off the wall? Where your Saviour is no where to be found? I have felt God’s silence for a few months now. I have shared in multiple posts how I have prayed for things that are really important to me and God seems silent; I have prayed for health and seen the opposite in my life; I have prayed for strength and instead have experienced weakness; I have prayed for soundness of mind and instead have been unsettled and terrified by my thoughts. I am living in the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

But friends, we know from scripture that on the Saturday in-between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, God was NOT silent. His Spirit was actively making Jesus alive in the spirit! While to the world Jesus was dead and silent, He was very much alive in the spirit and fighting a victorious battle over death and captivity. Jesus was securing the keys to hell and death so that no one would ever have to separated eternally from God (unless by choice); He was ensuring that death lost its sting and power forever for any one who believes in Him. While the world experienced his silence in death, Jesus was in fact busy working the miracle of the salvation and His Spirit was preparing for the miracle of the Resurrection the next day:

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit,  in whom He also went and preached to the spirits in prison… 1 Peter 3: 18- 19 BSB

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you. Romans 8:11 BSB

God was very much present on Saturday as He was on Friday and on Sunday. So today, I pray for you even as I pray for myself that you will be encouraged in the in-between times when God seems silent. I pray that your Saturday (your period of silence) will not be too long so as to leave you discouraged but instead may this prophecy of old be fulfilled in your very lives during this Easter season:

“See, your Savior comes! Look, His reward is with Him, and His recompense goes before Him”

Isaiah 62:11

Amen! and Happy Easter to you all.

Yours Truly

A Relational God

In the past couple weeks I have been listening very closely to God about what it means to have a relationship with him. God has been speaking with me regarding this and it all starts in a garden. For those of you who missed last week’s post, this is coming from my realization that I do not know what it means to be in relationship with God so I asked God to teach me. I do so with the understanding that in order to persevere in my faith , I need to see clearly who Jesus is, and what he has done for me. So, let’s go to the garden…

In the beginning, God created humanity to have a relationship with Him. The full embodiment of the Godhead created Adam and Eve to be in the image and likeness of God and gave them creative power and dominion over everything (Gen 1: 26-30). God made humanity different from the angels- who are God’s messengers that do His bidding. He created beings who were a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory (Heb 2:7- 8) and filled them with many of His abilities and attributes so that he could relate with them on a different level- not as servants like He would the angels but as friends. He made humans with the ability to create beings in their own image and likeness like God had done; to call things into existence by speaking just like God had done; to have power over created things like God does; and He gave man the ability to take care of things, and to nurture and cultivate things just like God can. He even topped it all by giving humans the ultimate key to relationship with Him: CHOICE. (Relationship is all about choice- you choose who you want to be in relationship with and how much you want to give to that relationship. You choose whether people you meet will become strangers, acquaintances, friends, lovers, etc. The only thing man did not choose was to be created- because that choice lay in the hands of the Creator and that still remains true today for us as humans with the the ability to procreate, children do not choose to be born, that choice lay in the hands of the parents, the creators- but I digress). So on a daily basis, God came down and spent time in fellowship with Adam and Eve in the garden He made for them. Until one day, Adam and Eve chose to no longer be in relationship with God and chose disobedience over obedience; and the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil which is death over life. And that day, everything else broke. Humans still had everything that God had bestowed upon them in creation- the ability to create, nurture, to have dominion and to bring into existence things that are spoken- but what had changed was that because Adam and Eve chose death- everything that humans have created and done since then is tainted by the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the internal struggle of good and evil was reproduced in every human after that day.

In the meanwhile, humans were created by God, for relationship with God and God’s plan is to reconcile and restore humans back to that original place of relationship in the garden where God would come down and dwell with his creation and He promises to do this in the fullness of time:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelations 21:1-4 NIV

However, in order for humans to return to this place of relationship with God, they had to make a choice to reject the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil which is death and choose life. But how? Humans have tried for many millennia to find their way back into relationship with God but cannot on their own because everything we do comes from the nature and likeness of Adam and Eve which is not the same as the nature and likeness of God. For us to get back in relationship with God, our nature and likeness must be changed back to the way it was in the beginning because the only way to be in that kind of relationship with God as Adam and Eve had in the garden is to be in the image and likeness of God as it was in the beginning.

God had to remove the option of death so that the only choice left to make was life for anyone who is ready to make that choice. The only way to do that was to take on death itself by dying. In order to do this, God had to assume the human nature with its struggles between good and evil (which is death) and life. God in human form as Jesus (also known as Emmanuel which means God among us and with us), chose life for all, just as Adam and Eve had chosen death for all. He did so by being the sacrifice of death in the choice of life and death so that as many people who want to be reconciled to God no longer had the option between death and life- only life. This is what we call being ‘born again’- it is the act of choosing life over death and by so doing, taking on the image and likeness of God so that you can go back to being in relationship just as you were created to be.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons [and daughters] to glory, it was fitting for God, for whom and through whom all things exist, to make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 

Hebrews 2: 9-11NIV

So in last week’s post, I admitted that I did not understand how God can keep forgiving over and over again and when His love would run out. There is still a mystery there but that does not negate or diminish the fact that Jesus revealed the depth of God’s love for humankind by taking our place and dying for us. It is this love, this yearning to restore relationship that is activated every time I pray for forgiveness of sin and choose life- even if it is 1000 times per day! This is why God can forgive me unconditionally because every time I renounce sin, I am choosing a relationship with Him and I am choosing life and that is all He desires- that no one perish but that all come to choose life, even everlasting life. He wants a Revelations 21 ending for everyone of His creation- to be back in relationship with Him forever as was intended in the beginning. And this is the simple gospel.

Yours Truly

Advent Calendar day 6: Being Godly

A few years ago, I used to live for the now. My life was so busy and I was so preoccupied with making it through each day that I did not have the space or time to think about eternity. And whenever, I did, thinking about death or dying filled me with so much dread because I always felt unprepared for the thereafter.

One day, I had a switch in my thinking. I cannot recall if it was a sermon I heard, or something on the radio, or God’s gentle admonishing to me but something changed. I started to think about living life with heaven in view each day. I determined within myself to do whatever I needed to do to feel prepared for the thereafter each day. Today’s reading is an encouragement for how we can live life with eternity in view:

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

1 Timothy 4: 8 NIV

Every thing we do on earth has eternal ramifications. Day in and day out, we are setting ourselves up for what comes next. Paul presents us with a tool to help us prepare for the afterlife: godliness. Many things that we strive for on earth are ephemeral- short-lived- and have no eternal value. Godliness on the other hand is eternal currency and is valuable in the afterlife. Jesus said it best in one of his teachings:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6: 19-21 NIV

As you reflect and take stock of 2021, ask yourself, “Am I godly?” and be intentional in practicing godliness- it is of great gain.

Yours Truly