Now that the holidays are over, I'm going to tell you a secret. I don't get very excited about Christmas. I mean, I love celebrating Jesus, but I can do without the trees and cookies and shopping and so on. I can't remember where it started, but I stopped asking my parents for Christmas presents during my teenage years.
Of course they still wanted to give me gifts. So for three years, my Christmas and birthday gifts were hours of recording time at a studio in West Michigan. Over those three years, I made my teenage angst album, The Great Silence.
I knew at the time God spoke to people and I had heard him during times of prayer. But for a while, I didn't hear much. Every Sunday afternoon, my family would take time to pray and listen for God. More often than not, I wouldn't feel the Holy Spirit putting anything on my heart. "Why not?" I would ask myself. "Is God mad at me? Am I screwing up? Have I lost all favor? Should I become a monk and earn His acceptance?" Those years were bleak and I didn't handle them well.
Sometimes I'll get messages from people who have read Stark Raving Obedience and I regularly hear this question: "What do I do if I don't hear anything from God?" My go-to answer is, "Don't worry. God wants to guide you. If you pray and don't hear, make a decision you think would make Him happy. Through it all, keep praying. Then be open to change if you feel Him telling you to do the contrary." But I've never loved that answer. It may be correct, but when you're in the middle of your own Great Silence, it can sound lame.
I went through something like this again when the ceiling of my old house fell. My wife and I lived in spare bedrooms and kept asking God what we should do. For three weeks, I didn't hear much. By the end of the month, we had a great new home and I had a new job. God had orchestrated a huge blessing in the background of a hard trial.
I thought about this again today when I read the latest post on Stuff Christians Like. Please read it. I think it will encourage you.