I was on my way to bible study this week. I had only been there once before, so I punched the address in my GPS (Google maps app, stuck in my cupholder because I still haven’t bought one of the holder things like the pic). Apparently the freeway was majorly jammed, so it took me down a road I wasn’t unfamiliar with, but haven’t driven down a whole lot.
The lady inside the GPS got me on the main road without a hitch. I spent about 10 minutes on the main road.
Then 15 minutes on the main road.
Then 30 minutes on the main road.
I started to get anxious about where exactly to turn. GPS lady hadn’t piped up in a while. Was she still on? Was my volume up? I really needed her to tell me what my next turn was. Hey. GPS lady, you, uh, you there? I kept glacing anxiously at my phone, not necessarily wondering if I had missed it per se, but like, I’d really, really like to know what road I’m turning on next.
Finally, she piped up to tell me to turn right in a quarter mile. Plenty of time for me to turn. But in my opinion, she took her sweet, sweet time giving direction.
When God is silent
Sometimes God is silent, and we start anxiously waiting for him to speak. We think the turn may be somewhere up ahead, so we get super nervous that he hasn’t spoken yet.
This has been happening in my life lately, and this isn’t the first time. It seems like every time I think there might be something coming up ahead, I start trying to get all the information right away.
God, do I turn yet?
God, do I turn yet?
God, do I turn yet?
Hey, um, HELLO?!
Then if he still doesn’t say anything, we start questioning our life choices. Is there some kind of secret sin entangling me that I am not even aware of? Is God giving me the silent treatment? Has he forsaken me?????
But God is more like the lady in the GPS. He is silent because...it isn’t time for him to tell us to turn yet.
I’m not saying God doesn’t love to speak. He certainly does, and he is always speaking. But his answers are not always in our timing or on our terms.
In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time praying “Hey God are we moving yet?” and he responds back with “Hey let’s talk about this heart issue.” And I say “God that’s not what I asked about. If I could just get an answer on if we’re moving or not.” And he says “Yeah but the heart issue is what I wanna talk about right now. Once we talk about that, we can get to your questions.” That tangent was free.
And then sometimes, he just knows that, if we hear his direction too early, there’s 99 ways we can mess it up. We can talk ourselves out of obedience, we can try to make it happen on our own, we could turn too early, or we can just straight up forget what he said.
So when God is being silent, it’s kind of on purpose. You’re just where you’re supposed to be. When you’re supposed to turn, he’s faithful to tell you. In time.
When God DOES Speak
I have a major tendency to overcomplicate God speaking to me. Let’s break down the job roles in this situation:
His job: To have a will (map) for your life, to have a destination for your life, to know the way to that destination, to give you directions in such a way that successfully gets you there.
Your job: To trust and obey his voice.
Listening to God’s voice should not feel like rocket science. God is not hiding from you. God is not whispering so low that you can’t hear. He’s happy, no, desperate, to speak to you, and he’s able to do it in a way that gets it through your thick skull. (Any other thick skull-ers? Welcome to the club.)
He’s FAITHFUL to tell you where and when to turn. When it’s time to talk, he will! The question is not “Will God speak?” but “Will you obey when he speaks?”
When God yells
Ok, well, not yells per se. But the heading worked. Let’s talk about when God talks a lot.
Nothing annoys my GPS lady more than when I get off course. She. hates. that. Every 20 seconds afterwards, she’s all like “Recalculating. Recalculating. Make a U turn at the next stop light. Turn left. Turn. Turn. Turn. Recalculating.”
She’s never more talkative than when I’ve gotten away from her directions.
I think you can see where this is going. When you veer off course from God’s direction, he starts talking. A Lot.
He starts giving warning after warning and direction after direction. Because like the GPS lady, he’s not interested in punishing you for getting off course. He’s just trying to get you back on track to your destination.
(Side note: Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear did a voice option for a GPS company. When you get off course, he says “You idiot!” God is not Jeremy Clarkson.)
God recalculates and tries to get you back to your destination. We see 17 prophetic books in the bible. In fact, in terms of genre, only the letters have more individual books (21). The prophetic books, for the most part, are sets of warnings to God’s people to come back on track with God’s plan for their lives, because the way they’re going, they will end in destruction. Not wanting that to happen, God sends a prophet, sometimes multiple, to give warning after warning. God doesn’t go radio silent when you’re disobedient. He ramps up communication.
So, that tells me, God loves to speak to his people, and when you get off track, he’s going to try to warn you every which way he can. Now, when you stop listening to him, and continue to be disobedient, that’s another story, and blog, altogether.
So, if you’re praying for direction and God is silent, take a breath. You’re probably just on the right track. Go confirm with a few trusted mentors to be sure.
Have you ever experienced this in your own life? Think I’m totally off base? Let me know in the comments.