Is Everything Really “Fine”?
Our elderly friend had brought a chair outside. She was sitting in it when we walked up. We could tell something was wrong.
We asked her if she was okay. She blew off the question with, “Everything is fine.”
But I recognized the ploy. I sometimes use it myself.
We may try to hide behind our words, but our eyes often give us away. Her eyes were speaking.
We asked if there was anything we could pray about for her. She was silent.
So we became silent too.
What’s the Rush?
It’s hard to linger in silence.
- We don’t like uncertainty.
We want answers.
- We don’t like pain (ours or others).
We want relief.
- We don’t like problems.
We want them fixed.
Answers and relief and solutions are good. They are healing. They are our goals.
But sometimes, in our rush to fix things, to get to the answer, to hurry to a resolution, we shortchange a relationship.
With our friend, we waited through the silence. And the silence was uncomfortable.
I don’t like long pauses in conversations with those I don’t know well. My mind starts grasping for something to say, anything to talk about.
But this time, we stayed with the pause.
And out of the silence arose a mumbled answer, “I just don’t like living here.” The dam broke. Our friend cried. She told us more. And more. We listened. We prayed.
Rising from the Silence
Isn’t this how God often works with us? God doesn’t always rush in to tidy up our lives as soon we’re in a mess.
Instead, he gives us room to hash it out. He allows us to spin in circles if needed. He makes space for us to experiment with new ideas and toss around options. Yet all the while he sticks by us, allowing us to experience his presence.
God’s help isn’t always noisy. Sometimes it’s quiet.
I was thankful for the Spirit’s nudge to honor the initial silence with our friend. To listen a little longer. To linger in the pause. Even though it felt unnatural.
In the end, the silence brought fuller understanding, not less.
Instead of rushing to get an answer, I want to be willing to linger longer in the pause.
A better way may arise from the silence.
Is it hard for you, too, to linger in the pause? Share in the comments.
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