Me aged late twenties or thirty.
What are You saying, God? What do you want me to do? Why can’t I hear You now? This was my cry most days.
After a mountain top experience in my spiritual walk, I’d been going through a time of testing. God was silent. Towards me, anyway.
My birthday was coming up. In those days, many of us sent one another a scripture written in a birthday card. A carefully prayed-for scripture. I wondered if God would break His silence in this way.
Anything would be good. A scripture, a ‘word’, a gentle nudge of the spirit. Any form of ‘whisper’ from God. Anything to shine light into this long tunnel of spiritual darkness.
I was living in an old Queenslander with two friends. They planned to cook a special dinner for my birthday and invited my sister and her husband and children to join us.
I was first home when I returned from teaching in the late afternoon. There were a few cards in the letterbox. I read the first few carefully, peering to see a hoped-for message from God. All the messages and scriptures blessed me but nothing stood out.
Then the last card had a loving message and a scripture, Isaiah 30:15 – ‘In quietness and confidence’ (these days ‘trust’) ‘shall be your strength’. It was the middle part of the verse.
Interesting. It was the same scripture in my daily devotional that day. It was about learning to stop striving and trust God, to rest in His love. Was God actually telling me to stop worrying about the silence and to trust Him?
The other two girls arrived home and after much clattering and giggling from the kitchen, they called me to dinner just as my sister and her family arrived.
The table was adorned with flowers and several dishes of delicious home-made Chinese foods.
After dinner, the dishes were replaced by a pile of presents. I unwrapped one lovely thing after another. Beth had given me a beautiful gift. When the table was bare, she produced yet another parcel.
“Beth!” I said. “You’ve already given me a very lovely present.”
She smiled. “I wasn’t planning to get this but I was in a Christian bookstore and it caught my eye. I felt God really wanted me to buy it for you.”
‘It’ was a pretty wooden plaque. On it were engraved the words – you guessed – ‘In quietness and confidence shall be your strength’.
I nearly burst into tears.
Sometimes God doesn’t whisper; He shouts.