When God Seems Silent

How did this happen? How did things get this way? Lord WHY? I must have asked those questions a million times that summer and the year following. There I was working for 10 weeks at a summer camp in Texas. I had just finished my junior year in college. My boyfriend had just asked my dad if he could marry me, we had picked out a ring and set a date. My plans were all coming together. And then it all came crashing down in a matter of days. My boyfriend came to me and said he didn’t think we were supposed to be together anymore.

All I knew to do was pray. So I prayed A LOT. I asked God to change his mind. I asked God to intervene. Several days later no answer, God seemed to be silent, but I could feel Him gently asking me, “Is your heart open to hear from me and what I want for you or are you telling me what you want.” Those are pretty tough words for a Type A control freak like me to swallow. I was so afraid to open my heart, because I was afraid of what God might tell me. Finally I surrendered and was open to what God had to say to me. That night God woke me up out of a dead sleep and quietly said to me “Ashlee….give it up, let him go.”  Again my heart broke, knowing what I had to do, not wanting to be alone, fearful about what people would say and think about me, afraid to go back to school knowing everyone expected a ring on my finger, scared of the unknown.

That summer I allowed anger and bitterness to root in my heart. I was angry at God because He had allowed my future to shatter. I was angry at my ex-boyfriend, because he so easily walked away from our relationship and didn’t seem to be taking it as badly as I did. I was angry at myself because I had allowed my identity and my future to be held in a person and not who God was. The coming months led to a deep dark path of depression. My friends and family were helpless as they tried to walk through life with me. They tried their best, but just didn’t know how to help me. Eventually I hit rock bottom and realized that if something didn’t change my anger and bitterness was going to literally kill me.

I began to seek out God like I never had before. The Lord reminded me of what I had learned at Boot Camp. I spent many summers at Precept and knew Inductive Bible Study like the back of my hand. I began to put into practice what I knew and began studying inductively. I began to put everything in my life before God and seek His direction in my life. The Lord was calling me to be willing to give everything up. In all honestly He did ask me to give everything up. He asked me to give up every plan that I ever had for myself. He took away every source of comfort I normally ran to. He taught me that all I needed was Him. So I began to seek Him and cling to Him. He was teaching me what true surrender looked like.

God began to build me back up. He asked me to forgive. He asked me to trust Him. He even answered my “why” questions.

Surrender has been crucial to shape the way I live my life.  It has taught me to trust God, His Word and what he calls me to above the words of men. My senior year of college the Lord called me into ministry. I didn’t know what that meant, but knew it meant continuing my education in Seminary (NOT something I wanted to do). It meant God calling me to Texas (A place I NEVER wanted to live), it meant God calling me out of a church I had gotten plugged into and into a BIG church where He plugged me into ministry. It meant God placing me in exactly the right place at exactly the right time so that I could meet the man that would become my husband. It meant graduating from seminary without a job and waiting patiently on God to provide. It meant trusting God and speaking His Truth at my grandfather’s funeral. It meant God continually asking me to surrender my plans and thoughts and entrusting Him with the details of my life.

A few years ago I had another potential rock bottom moment, when I got a phone call from my parents telling me my mom had an aggressive form of breast cancer and they were immediately starting her on chemo. It was a moment where once again I could have asked “Why God?” and I could have gotten angry and I could have played the victim.  God has shown me exactly who He is and what He is capable of in Scripture and in my own life. So I sought Him, His purpose and His plan. I watched God give my family a platform to speak grace, faith and trust in God.  I watched God transform my mom into a woman who seeks Him.

So often we are afraid of surrender. We fear giving up everything. I have learned that surrender is the beginning of an amazing ride. It has meant God showing up in amazing ways and providing incredible opportunities and blessings in my life. It has meant a sweet relationship with Jesus that I just didn’t have before. Surrender is the beginning, not the end. It is not an option, but a calling. Scripture tells us about this calling (James 4:7, Ephesians 1:22, 1 Cor 15:27-28 ). So quit making life about you. Lay everything (your life & plans) on the table and entrust it to God. He is more than worthy.

 

Ashlee is a native New Mexican living as a missionary in Texas. She is a small group leader in the youth group of her church and has been involved with Transform Student Ministries for 13 years. She knows she brings nothing to the table with her relationship with God and any ministry He allows her to be a part of.  She is a hostile enveloped in the grace of God.

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One Response

05.31.12

Great job, Ashlee. Thanks for sharing this story of grace.

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