Let me hear Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You.
Show me where to walk for I give myself to you. Psalm 143:8
In May of this year, I was convicted that I was running from God. The backstory: I had stepped down with my administrator from the Bible study we had been leading – she for 14 years, and me for 6. We went down together. We had prayed about it for months, and we were good.
Or so I thought. I was done, but apparently God was not done with me. Don’t you just cringe when you realize that you’ve been caught running – not necessarily the wrong way, but the opposite way from what God is doing?
God even used a lecture that I had taught just two weeks prior to this conversation. Elijah was running form Jezebel. He was tired, he was fearful, he was done. He ran, in the desert, the Spirit found him, fortified him for the run and, get this, did not reprimand him.
Elijah found himself at Mt. Sinai. Does this mount sound familiar? It’s where Moses met with God, where the Israelites met with God, and it is where Elijah ran. This mount had been covered with God’s Presence over and over again. It was a sacred place, a holy ground.
Maybe Elijah just needed to be there and see this place he had only heard about. Maybe he wanted to look at the very rocks where he knew God had been. Maybe he needed a little comfort. He was fleeing after all.
It is here that God finds Elijah in a cave – hiding. God asks him what he is doing, then God does something spectacular. Epic. Noteworthy. Awe-inspiring. Jaw-dropping. He passed by – windstorm, but He wasn’t in it. Earthquake. Ditto. Fire. God was not there. Whisper. Yes, God was in the whisper. The gentle whisper.
Remember Elijah was in the cave. He was instructed by God to come out of the cave and watch. By reading the account, he stayed in the cave. And if it were me, my hair would have stood on end, turned white and I would have been hugging the ground. Elijah gets his back porch out of the cave finally at the sound of the gentle whisper.
“Go back”, God says, “the way you came.” This story can be found in 1 Kings 19:1-18, if you want the more particulars.
Folks, my hair was standing on end and I was hugging the ground when God pointed out that I had a little bit of Elijah going on. I wasn’t hiding in a cave. I was doing what I thought He wanted me to do. Write, for one thing. Endure hardship like a good soldier (2 Timothy 2:3) as another – I was still in the thick of suffering (even now). I felt like the season of lecturing and being involved with a women’s study was over.
I was wrong.
I repented. I listened. And what I heard was – walk in SILENT OBEDIENCE.
What? Me? Silent? This is Kerry Sue Stewart Teravskis. Not the silent type. I speak up. I talk. God said, “No, not this time. Be silent. And walk in obedience.”
I was in this with our women’s ministry leader at our church. She and I both knew we were on holy ground. In fact, it was she who was there when I realized that the very lecture I gave was what I needed to hear. Our four-hour conversation ended with me in tears in complete surrender and submission. And….
We knew we had to be silent. When does it ever happen that 2 women are intentionally silent? Over something as big as relaunching a Bible study that in a week we were announcing that it was ending????? A Bible study that affected many women, and these women were very sad that we were stopping? At the brunch the following week, we had to pretend that it was over. The format that had been going on for 14 years had reached it peak. But, it was 'mum’s the word' for 2 of those at the brunch.
We were given permission from God to tell our very immediate families. That was it. And it was it for 2 months. We were to walk AND pray during this time. We did not know when the silence was to be broken and we were getting glimpses of how it was to be broken, but we were to be silent. And pray.
In my many years as a believer, this was the first time where I had to walk in silence. Oh, I’ve encountered the SILENCE OF GOD, but this was not His silence, it was to be mine. This was new territory for me. Not that it is uncharted waters, far from it, as I have read in Hudson Taylor’s journals, this was a frequent call to action for him. Good thing I reread those at the beginning of the pandemic. Knowing how a godly person lives out Christ in the every day intrigues me. I want to learn from Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30) as well as the saints who have gone before.
Now that I am 5 months into this new way of walking with Jesus, I see how vital it is to be quietly obedient. And if He calls me to be silent, then I need to obey.
For example, in preparing this relaunch, there has been NUMEROUS administration things to get done. Beyond belief, actually. And many decisions have required my silent obedience. My women’s ministry leader and I just say – “Silent obedience.” And we know exactly how we are to move. Usually it has required much time in prayer without any action forward. I literally had to text someone this week that I needed to stop talking and be silent. Weird. Yes, I get it. But I had to obey. The situation was stressing me out and if I continued to talk it would not help the matter, only hinder because my flesh was trying to lead; not pretty.
But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and
watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:13-14
Have a situation in your life? You are not alone. Literally. Stay calm. Let the LORD fight the battle. Walk in silent obedience.
LORD, thank You that You speak, and that I can be silent and obey. It's hard Lord because, frankly, I want to control everything. But, that is not obedience. You are Sovereign, and I am to be still and follow. I submit to this. In Your Son, Jesus. AMEN