There is a time to speak and a time to be silent
by Tori Randolph
"There is a time to speak and a time to be silent."
These are the words she murmured in her head as her legs were sore from walking, her throat was dry from dust, and her heart was weary from hoping.
She wanted with all her might to complain; to declare the injustice of the last 40 years. Although she hadn't lived through it all, she had felt the ripple effect of oppression on her ancestors. And all for what? For this, this continuing to move forward and hope in a God that would only let us down, to believe in a Father who had only let us wander, to trust in the One who had led us here. To this wall. Yes, she saw the mystic, the miracle, the wonder of their saving, but she had yet to taste the reward.
And as she continued to walk around those walls, she wondered if the reward, the kingdom promised would ever come to pass. With her dream-filled youth behind her and a war torn present beside her, she held out for more walking around this impenetrable wall thinking, "Maybe, just maybe, He will deliver us." And with that shred of hope, she lifted her head, kept her fears at bay, and continued to walk.
Have you ever felt like her? I have. There are seasons of life in which every day I feel like I can't get out of bed, buy one more grocery, do one more set of laundry, show up for one more person who is begging for love. But I walk on.
Often I walk on, and wonder aloud, what is He doing? I talk to neighbors and passersby and I share my doubts in the One True God, who seems to be here one second and MIA the next. I feed into a culture that gossips, slanders, and speaks evil. I choose to fill the space of silence with anxiety, stress, and fear.
I know she felt all those emotions that day. After that many laps, you start to lose count. How many more did she have left? As much as she wanted to shout aloud to all those battling, marching, hoping, praying with her that maybe this was all a waste... she chose another way instead. She chose to keep silent. She chose to march one more lap, for He who had delivered them but had not yet delivered on the promise.
I know you felt that one right through the chest and straight to your heart.
The one who had delivered them but had not yet delivered on the promise.
Whew. You feel cheated, lied to, left behind. Sent on a scavenger hunt with no end, a goose chase with no goose. A journey with no map, and just enough food along the way to barely sustain you.
We feel that way sometimes. And it is valid.
But can I challenge you? Challenge you to walk that dark valley with Him alone with your head held high. Even though surrounded on every side with those who would not blame you for complaining, those who would not blame you for venting, those who would even join in with you on the injustice of your season and the unbelievability of your heartbreak. Can I challenge you to bear it in silence?
"In quietness and trust is your strength."
But the strength comes not just from the silence. It comes from the compatibility of trust. Sometimes the breadth of our trust can be measured by the stillness of our silence.
As she wipes the dust from her eyes, the sun begins to set over the hill. "We must have walked around the walls at least ten times now." No one told her when they would fall, no one even told her they would fall. All she knew is that God had promised His people (herself), this land; this city; this kingdom.
What has He promised you?
In hindsight we know, only three more laps and those walls will fall. We know because we see the big picture of her small moment.
Do you dare believe that your heavy laden spirit is experiencing a small moment of trust in the midst of a greater narrative? That maybe God isn't preparing the walls in your life to fall, maybe He's preparing you to brace for the impact. Maybe what He is doing to your heart in the silence is necessary for your next season of speaking up. Maybe in the quiet places of your grief, He is healing every hurt that no conversation could ever uncover. Maybe in your obedience of quietness and trust the promise is even fuller revealed.
He is our reward, then, now, and forever. God with us, in the silence. God with us in the shouts of victory, and the blowing of trumpets... not as the wall falls, but right before. Did you catch that? They walked in silence, and then, THEN shouted in victory BEFORE the walls came tumbling down.
Can you feel it? That day when the trumps will sound again? And it won't just be walls crumbling down, but every stronghold and principality falling to their knees.
In the day to day working and the difficult walking, there are seasons of silence. And there is an element of deep rooted trust and courage required. But when it is time to shout in victory, signaling the outpouring of all that is promised, you will know, and He will deliver.
Walking around the walls can be monotonous, draining, and hopeless. I encourage you dear friend to endure it. Though it tarries, wait for it. To the one who has truly trusted in quietness, will come the long awaited fulfillment of victorious shouts. Amen. So be it. I'm beside you. I know these walls are big, but our God is bigger. Let's keep walking.
Tori Randolph is a teacher, coach, blogger, and plant mother in Rogers, AR. She has killed most of her plants and none of her students. She's most recently become an advocate for stricter ingredient regulation processes in skincare and cosmetics through Beauty Counter. But she counts all that as loss compared to serving Jesus. All her titles can and will someday fade away. When they remember her, let them remember Jesus. To read more of Tori's writing, you can follow her blog at unfilteredliving.wordpress.com.