By Dena Johnson Martin, Crosswalk.com
When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart.
This quote hangs on my wall as a constant reminder that God is always working, even when it seems He is completely silent.
So often, I hear others complaining about God’s silence, wondering where He is and why He is not answering their prayers. I understand. I’ve been there…many, many times. I cried out to God as I watched Him save other marriages, bring redemption to other women. I’ve begged Him to hear my prayer, to save me from my circumstances.
And yet I waited.
Over the years I’ve tried desperately to cling to the truth God is always working, even when He’s silent. I’ve tried to remember that His heart toward me is always good, that His plans for me are to prosper me, to give me a hope and a future. I’ve recited the verses that remind me that all things work together for the good of those who love God.
And I’ve continued to wait.
Today, I stand on the other side. I’ve seen His promises to me fulfilled as I pledged my life and my love to the most amazing man. I have the joy of looking back on this journey and knowing God has repaid everything I have ever lost…and more.
Today, I can look back and see where God was working in the silence.
And I want to share a little of that crazy perspective with you.
In the fall of 2009, I was newly separated and walking through a nasty divorce. I was hurting, lost, lonely. I was looking for love and acceptance and security wherever I could find it. I was a complete mess.
Facebook was fairly new (to me) at the time, and I was enjoying reconnecting with old friends from high school and college. Among those old friends? Roy Martin. Bubba. One of the friendliest guys in our high school. Just a good guy with an infectious laugh.
I remember sitting in a movie theater with my kids and sending him a message. We began to chat, and I told him what was going on in my life—about the affair and the divorce and the hurt and the pain. I also told him about my hope in Christ, that God would use this mess to do something amazing.
I’ll never forget his message back to me: “You don’t know how you are ministering to me right now.”
That message stuck with me and I began to pray for him, sensing something was definitely wrong. Within a couple of days, I received yet another message in which he told me his wife had filed for divorce and he was devastated.
Over the next few months, Roy messaged me and texted me frequently. He was stationed overseas, but I received a message most every morning that simply said, “Good morning, gorgeous.”
I’ll be honest: I rejected him. I knew he was hurting, and I knew I didn’t need to get involved with him. We were both messes and had no business being in any type of relationship. I also knew it was unlikely to go anywhere because he wasn’t here physically.
Rum and Coke became his best friend…
I tried to be a friend as he drowned his sorrows in alcohol and women. Even as he went about his wild living, he never forgot me, sending me a “Good morning, gorgeous,” text more mornings than he didn’t.
I, on the other hand, fell deeply in love with Jesus, seeking His face, begging Him to do a mighty work in me so He could do a might work through me. I spent hours on my knees, asking Him to take that man who would one day be my husband and do a mighty work in him as well. I asked God to take away anything that would cause an addiction. I asked God to bless his works and his finances and his relationships. I asked God to make him the husband and father he needed to be. I asked God to help him surrender, to increase his faith and teach him to walk closely with God.
For five years, I prayed. For five years, Roy ran. For five years, our friendship grew. He turned to me, his “Godly” friend, to seek advice. He reached out to me when he was lonely and sad. He told me when he was being deployed to dangerous places.
And I stood by his side, doing my best to encourage him to surrender to God. I smiled at his sweet texts, always reminding me of my beauty. I laughed at his silliness and his jokes that flowed so easily.
I remember one day I asked him to go to a movie with me and my kids. After the movie, Cassie gave him a big hug. Then, she turned and confided in me that he smelled really good (and he did!). It was so cute to watch her reach out to my friend that way.
I also watched as he changed into a new creation, one who went to church and posted about his relationship with God. I watched as he became a new dad to his children, desiring to become all they deserved and all God intended him to be. I watched as he began to desire to know God, to walk in all his ways. I watched as he poured his life into church and serving God. I listened as God’s words began to flow from his mouth, as he became the encourager.
And for seven years, I’ve received “Good morning, gorgeous” texts.
Somewhere along this journey, God got Roy’s attention. It came one night in church when the Francesca Battistelli song Holy Spirit pierced his heart and his soul and he fell to his knees telling God He was welcome to take over his life, to have complete control.
And while I thought God was silent, He was hard at work softening a heart that had become hardened. While I thought God was silent, He was answering my prayers in the life of a man I had know all my life. While I thought God was silent, He was transforming a man He had brought back into my life at the very moment I humbled myself and began to pray (Daniel 9:23).
And now I know…
When I couldn’t see God’s hand, I could trust His heart.
And so can you, my friend. Maybe you can’t see what God is doing. Maybe your heart is aching as you pour out everything in prayer. Maybe you are wondering when it will finally be your time. Maybe you are struggling because of His silence.
Trust His heart.
Somewhere. Some way. He is working. He is orchestrating your story so you can proclaim His goodness and His grace. And one day, you will be able to look back with a smile and know His heart toward you is good. Always and forever.
Photo credit: Pexels.com