Unbelief and Silence
“I said to myself, I’m going to quit complaining! I’ll keep quiet, especially when the ungodly are around me. But as I stood there silently the turmoil within me grew to the bursting point. The more I mused, the hotter the fires inside…” (Psalm 39:1-3 LB)
The Christian journey seems to take a relatively predictable course. It begins with the excitement of the new birth, when God is seen everywhere and in everything. It is the joy of the first love. Over time that excitement wanes and gives way to the maturing process. The growing believer settles into his new life with growing solidity. He experiences times of joy, times of sorrow, times of victory and occasional defeats. But through it all he is ever pressing on “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) This is the normal course of events for a sincere believer who is maturing in his faith.
God is ever intent on deepening a person’s faith. That process of deepening doesn’t occur by pampering the believer with reassurance but by doing the very opposite. When the person matures to the place that he can handle such a trial, the Lord will purposely introduce circumstances which will actually make it difficult to believe in Him! In other words, He stretches a person’s faith.
It seems that David was in such a trial when he penned Psalm 39. He was being plagued with the worst kind of doubts about the Lord. His mind was being overrun with accusing thoughts about God’s goodness. Through the entire trial, he wisely restrained his words—especially around people who would only use such doubts to bolster their own skepticism.
I went through a period like this myself. It was awful! I had to be very careful about what I said in front of immature Christians for fear that I might discourage them. But I was in the spiritual battle of my life. I eventually came out the other end of that dark tunnel stronger in my belief in God’s goodness than ever before. At the time I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, but by the time I got through it, I came to see the good that God accomplished within me through the experience.
Just be aware, dear one, that as you advance in the Christian journey, you will probably come to a point where you begin to doubt every conviction you have held. When that occurs, watch your words carefully around those of weaker faith, find a godly friend with whom you can vent your struggles and, most of all, take all your fears and doubts to the Lord. He is there with you, even if you can’t sense His presence.
And how about you? Have you yet reached this point in your journey where it seems you are in a crisis of faith? If not, chances are you will before it is over. Just remember that God is holding your hand through that tunnel—even though He seems nowhere to be found.