When God Remains Silent
“Dad, where did you go? Dad, where do I cast?” Both of my boys were learning to fly fish, and I was getting the wonderful opportunity to instruct them in one of life’s most enjoyable activities (well, to me anyway). Grady and Garrett were attempting a fine art and firing questions at me as fast as they were casting. They threw the rod at a break neck speed, back and forth, chopping at the air with fine fishing line. I instructed, modeled, guided as best I could. But eventually I had to just sit back, observe and let them fish.
There are elements of fly fishing that can only be learned through experience, through mistakes. So, I sat, painfully watching as they missed a rising fish or tangled a line. I couldn’t do it for them. In my heart, joy collided with tension. My boys were growing up, becoming independent. I watched and encouraged from the sidelines, no longer able to do it for them.
Several years later, sitting with my wife in a rental car, my forehead hit the steering wheel with a “clunk.” There was no accident, no airbags deployed. We were sitting in a church parking lot with tears in our eyes, facing a new reality. I knew, that I knew, that I knew, God was calling Amber and I to move from our comfortable home in Idaho to Houston, Texas. We were Northwest natives. I’d spent most of my life in Northern Idaho, and Amber was an Oregon girl. The rural, peaceful landscape was where we made our home, where most of my relatives lived. Before that day, sitting in the parking lot and being called to Houston would seem as probable as becoming missionaries in Greenland.
God loves the improbable, and walking with Him creates incredibly painful faith moments. For several years, God was stirring in both Amber and me. We didn’t have the what, when or where, but both of us knew God was up to something. It was a scary time. We deeply loved our church family. All I knew was Real Life Ministries. The roots of my family went deep into the soil of Northern Idaho. Heck, the mountain overlooking our little town was named after my great grandfather. Yet, we were feeling the master gardener beginning to loosen our roots and prepare us for a major transplant.
My journals during that time were littered with pleas and questions asking God to give me more clarity. Why God? Where are you sending us? What do you want me to do? How will my kids survive a drastic move? I wanted, well, in truth, I demanded answers. But the Lord, in His loving kindness, remained silent.
So often, the Lord will not give us the clarity we want. I found myself believing that I was demonstrating some great faith. I would be willing to go wherever He sent me; I just wanted some explanation first. In my clouds of frustration, I often misinterpreted God’s silence as distance. Looking back, it was not distance at all. His silence is actually one of His most intimate and powerful methods of instruction. God remains silent because where He is sending you or what He is asking you to do is not the main objective. His objective is developing your faith.
Where are you Dad?
I asked that question just like my boys did to their earthly father. I knew in my heart God was right behind me. My real struggle should have manifested this question: “Dad, do I have enough faith to trust You to do this?”
I used to pull fish from the streams of Idaho, now I’m pulling men from the plains of Houston.
I can almost hear God say, “Now, we are fishing my boy!” It is declared proudly and clearly in my soul.