When we encounter problems and things are not going favorably, our first knee-jerk reaction is to DO something. We analyze and think logically through the steps that got us to this point; we weigh out the pros and cons for each possibility on the horizon as we prepare to make a decision – the “right” decision. Our prayers are full of language requesting wisdom, God’s will, and direction. “Just tell me what to do!” we cry out, fully believing that we have reached that nearly unattainable attitude: Thy will be done, not mine.
We pray this as purely and genuinely as we possibly can. We relinquish our desires to God and beg the Holy Spirit to intervene in our actions so that we can be assured that we are following the will of our Creator. We open our eyes, stand up, and walk away from the place of our prayers. We move through our day making decisions and taking actions that we desperately hope are the things God wants us to do. Superimposed into our activities are the silent prayers, like subconscious mantras, in which we rationalize and continue to beg for guidance.
There are frustrations, doubts, and disappointment as we receive nothing for our prayers but silence. There are no obvious signs from God: dreams are dark and empty; scripture is a string of words void of inspiration; friends are sympathetic but not particularly wise; and everything we do leads us deeper into the maze of confusion.
Periodically we hit the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” and think it is a full-blown epiphany. We ride high on this new revelation for a few days, then slip back into despair when we note that the reality of our condition hasn’t changed. OK, God. I got your message, but now what?? You still haven’t told me what to do!
ACTION is the key concept here; what to do, the key question. The American culture places a high value on action. But because God isn’t bound by national boundaries or limited to social belief systems, He values things we cannot comprehend. Learning, grappling to attain some portion of comprehension is our purpose in life.
God begs back to us to be in a state of being. And this requires NOT DOING.
We do not know how to BE with our troubles, and God will not tell us with words or familiar signs because the answer is in HIS SILENCE. We don’t DO being, it is inaction that allows us to BE. And it is in the state of being that we gain that profoundly deep connection we so long for. When we learn to BE, our troubles go away, not because of dramatic changes in circumstances, but because we have new perspective and therefore interpret our experiences in such a new light that makes them fade, dissipate, and eventually vanish.
Stop analyzing; stop looking for answers. Stop asking God to speak to you. Instead, sit with your sorrow and feel yourself immersed in it. Wallow, if you must, thrash and throw fits in the sorrow pool until you are fully spent. Then, exhausted, defeated, and willing to give up completely, you will begin to float. Still in sorrow, but floating, not fighting, you will know God’s presence like never before, and you will know that it is the hand of God that gives you the buoyancy that keeps you afloat.
Only then will you hear God’s voice and feel the winds of the Holy Spirit; only then will you know what to do.