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Hello? Can You Hear Me Now?
by Bob Valleau
11/26/2017 / Christian Living
“Hello? Can you hear me now?”
These are popular words from a 2002 Verizon commercial. Somehow I can’t help but think this is a cry of many who suffer from depression this time of year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are supposed to be a joyous time filled with love and laughter. Unfortunately, for some it is a dreaded time to endure and their hope is to make it to the start of a new year.
Sadly, life's dynamics change no matter the time of year. However, they are more challenging when you are faced with the reality of your situation and when it seems others have no problem participating in these two annual celebrations. You may ask God: "How am I to be thankful when all I see is despair? How am I to be joyful when I see nothing but strife?"
I’m reminded of the wise insight from the book of Job. Job was a man of unparalleled and genuine piety. He was also a man of well-deserved prosperity. He was a godly gentleman, extremely wealthy, a fine husband, and a faithful father. In a quick and brutal sweep of back-to-back calamities, Job was reduced to a twisted mass of brokenness and grief. The extraordinary accumulation of disasters that hit him would have been enough to finish off any one of us today.
Job is left bankrupt, homeless, helpless, and childless. He's left standing beside the ten fresh graves of his now-dead children in a windswept valley. His wife is heaving deep sobs of grief as she kneels beside him, having just heard him say, "Whether our God gives to us or takes everything from us, we will follow Him." She leans over and secretly whispers, "Why don't you just curse God and die?"
Job’s misery turns to mystery with God's silence. If the words of his so-called friends are hard to hear, the silence of God becomes downright intolerable. Not until the thirty-eighth chapter of the book does God finally break the silence, however long that took. Even if it were just a few months, try to imagine. You've become the object of your alleged friends' accusations, and the heavens are brass as you plead for answers from the Almighty, who remains mysteriously mute. Nothing comes to you by way of comfort. It's all so unfair; you've done nothing to deserve such anguish.
I find it interesting how, during all of Job’s suffering, he did not reject God, but Job did challenge and accuse Him. The Almighty quieted Job decisively when He finally thundered His own perspective on the situation. God did not answer Job’s question of “Why?” Instead, He overwhelmed Job and his friends with the truth of His majesty and sovereignty. Job came away with a deeper sense of God’s power and splendor, causing Job to hold on to his faith in the midst of such unbelievable tragedy and turmoil. (Read all of Job, Chapter 38.)
So, whenever you scream at God, “Hello? Can you hear me now?” His answer may be a long silence. But do not mistake God’s silence for someone who does not care. God’s silence is giving you time to reflect upon who He is and preparing your heart to trust Him more when He finally does speak.
Bob Valleau has over 30 years of writing experience for the Christian market. He was once named Christian Writer of the Year (San Antonio, Texas) by the American Christian Writers Association. He is the author of four books.
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