“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it. Amos 8:11-12, ESV
Have you read the book of Amos? I haven’t. Maybe once, but I honestly couldn’t tell you much about the OT book from memory. I know that it was written by the prophet Amos, and I’m guessing it declares the LORD’s justice on a wayward Israel…but that’s my best guess. I ask because I was led to those unfamiliar pages today, and I was floored by the revelation He gave to me through those verses…
I have been ‘stuck’ in an interesting place. For the first time in a long time, I have felt an eerie silence in my soul. When the week comes to an end and all items are crossed off of the ‘to-do’ list, I find myself sitting in a silence that is too quiet and despairing. It is when my thoughts, and my actions, and my priorities have ceased that I realize that I don’t hear my Father’s voice. The place where His presence would fill my soul with exuberant warmth now feels empty and quiet. What a terribly horrible feeling. I think I have been attributing the ‘distance’ to a lack of quiet time in scripture, time for uninhibited prayer, and a down-right feeling of tiredness that keeps me from seeking His face wholeheartedly. I have been overwhelmed by doing the things of God for Him, but I have misplaced my priorities and dejected He Himself. I have mislaid my intimate relationship with Him somewhere along the way.
I feel like a grape that was once deep in the heart of the vine, but I have somehow slowly crept to the outermost edges. I miss my place close to the Father’s heart.
This gnawing feeling from the Spirit has pushed me back into the scriptures–as all good reproof from the Father does. Yet something has still been missing… His voice is still so quiet. So, so quiet. Why?…
I think He told me why today.
There are a few notable areas in my life where I have been a wayward Israel. I have heard His voice speak–LOUD and clear, time and time again–and yet I still do not obey His commands. I have heard His opinions on the topics, and I have chosen to ignore them. I have chosen to follow my own thoughts, beliefs, reasons, and actions. I have removed Him from the thrown of authority and chosen myself to be my very own god. How stupid of a thing to do. After years (yes, years) of rejecting His voice in these areas, I think He has chosen to step back and let me live as my own god. If I choose to continually reject His voice, perhaps He will eventually stop begging my heart to comply. (Not quite to the same extent of Romans 1:18-32, but eerily similar.)
Losing the Spirit of God is one of my largest fears. Although, I know that I cannot lose Him. I am His, and He is mine. Eternally. Although I cannot lose His presence, I am now receiving one HUGE revelation that I can wound His heart and reject His presence to the point of creating an expansive distance between my heart and His voice. This relationship of ours is a thriving, living, active thing. I can wound it by selfishly neglecting it. Think of it from the Father’s point of view… How much does the Father need to say or do to convince us that His voice speaks truth that should be followed? I need to be obedient to the only One who is worthy of wholehearted devotion. Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby describe it like this in Experiencing God:
“I encourage you to review on a regular basis what you sense God has been saying to you. If God speaks and you hear but do not respond, a time could come when you will not hear His voice…If you hear the Word of God and do not apply it to produce fruit in your life, your disobedience will cost you. Make up your mind now that when the Spirit of God speaks, you are going to do what He says.”
I am being neither faithful nor righteous. I am not seeking His face. I am not rejoicing in the infallible hope of His promises that He has sworn to me, patient in my temporal afflictions, or constant in prayerful communication with Him. I have accepted a spirit of resignation. I have dropped my armor. I have forgone the truths of God for lies. I am slowly being pushed/pushing myself further and further to the outskirts of the vine. What a terribly beautiful revelation.
Praise be to God for saving us from ourselves. Praise be to God for revealing our downfalls to lead us to repentance. Praise be to God for being the greatest Fighter for Love that I’ve ever known. Praise be to God for being Abba… the Father misses each and every one of His wayward children and perfectly works to bring them home to right relation with Him, who disciplines them for their own good and His glory, who loyally withstands their disobedience by way of His long-suffering love… Praise be to my God, the LORD, who loves like that. My wandering heart wouldn’t survive the fiery trials of this life with a god any less loyal or loving.
thank You for speaking through the silence to whisper truth to my hard heart. May your voice continue to grow inside of me again as I demonstrate renewed obedience to your Word.
As always, I pray that the transparency of my wrestling matches with the Lord are beneficial to those of you reading this post. Who knows whose eyes will find this text out on the big ole world wide web. Whomever you are, please know that you’re not wrestling alone. Most of all, let these posts bring glory to You. You are worthy… oh so worthy.