The more years I walk the Christian path with Christ as my Saviour, the longer are His seasons of silence in my life.
As a young Christian I sensed Him guiding me through every day; I heard His voice speak into my heart and sometimes it was loud and audible as though He were standing right in front of me. For years there were moments when I would worship Him in prayer and song, oblivious to my surroundings, aware only that the Glory of His presence had tangibly filled the air and enveloped me in holy arms.
I thought it would always be like that, but over the past 26 years His tangible presence, still small voice, and embracing arms continued to gradually fade from my every day life.
"He's displeased with me", I thought, "and I'm not worthy anymore."
I went through seasons of allowing this self-talk to pull me away from my normal morning habit of spending time in prayer, worship and studying the Bible, then within a few weeks or a month, I'd run back to Him, immersing myself in Scripture and prayer for hours each day, hopeful of feeling His arms surround me once more and having everything return to 'normal' - but rarely was that hope fulfilled.
It took me years and years to figure out what I was doing wrong.
My 'normal' was to create God in the image that I liked best, an image that speaks to me, embraces me, and leads me 'out of this world and into heavenly places', an image that was tangibly accessible as soon as I bowed my head or lifted my song to heaven, an image Who answered my prayers in a manner I desired.
Such a silly girl I was, and still am sometimes.
It is *I* who have been created in His image, not He who is being created in mine.
And that is the lesson He needed to teach me; a lesson He is still teaching me.
If going silent for long seasons in life made me question my faith in Him and Who He was then it was for a good and holy purpose because I couldn't rely on feelings anymore. I had to study Scripture, I needed to take account of all the blessings which regularly came my way (like the months of empty car spaces right next to the supermarket trolley bay when I damaged my knee and couldn't walk far last year, but which I rarely found once my knee was healed) and I had to walk with Him in dark times trusting and believing He was right beside me all the way even though I couldn't hear or feel Him near.
Right now I'm experiencing the longest season of silence He's ever taken me through, but you know what? The more I read His Word, the more I come to understand that He's speaking all the time. There's not a single prayer that leaves my lips which doesn't have an encouragement, a comfort, a direction and occasionally a direct answer, right inside Scripture.
God is God in heaven, and He is also God on earth. There is no differentiation to our Creator. Both realms are His creation, His glory, His workmanship and ownership alone.
So He's not silent after all, God in heaven talks to you and me through His earth-delivered Word.
I just needed to learn a new way of listening.
If this lesson was a University degree I'd have achieved it three times over as that's how long it's taken, but my prayer, my honest heart exposed prayer, is that one day I graduate with honours.
Come soon Lord Jesus, come.