By Leah Fuller
I often find myself challenged by the very concepts and questions we instructors ask participants. On a recent expedition, two participants gave evidence to prove they were at the correct destination. Despite obvious evidence in several directions, one or two directions had seemed a little less clear. As the two completed their proof, I nodded and asked them, “Are you satisfied that you are at the destination?” The women looked at each other with uncertainty and after a thoughtful moment replied, “Well, we would feel more secure if you would just affirm that we are in the right place.”
How often have I longed for or even sought out affirmation from another in order to gain some form of security for myself? And often I think I need the affirmation because I do not trust that which I know to be true. When it comes to love, words allow me to communicate love to others, and words are a way I desire to receive love from others. Living with our own deep fear of inadequacy, we can start thinking that we need another’s words to confirm our identity or our worth.
I often find myself thinking that God’s silence pronounces a condemnation or judgment of me. I’m not doing enough to please Him, so He is withholding Himself. Let’s face it, I think that about others, too. If I go for a few days without connecting with a good friend, I think she must be upset with me or doesn’t want to be around me anymore. I’ve seen it create insecurity for couples in a new dating relationship. Lack of communication or contact can create fear that maybe the other person has become disinterested or doesn’t care anymore. We can experience silence or lack of communication as rejection.
What if God’s love went beyond words? What if I was secure enough in God’s love for me to know that He is with me even when I cannot hear Him? What if God’s silence is not a condemnation of me, but is instead a communication of His trust in my love? David Benner in his book Opening to God puts it this way: “Intimacy demands that talk be balanced by attentive openness in silence, and only as this happens do we begin to know the deeper communion of shared presence that no longer depends on words.” As we grow in our relationships with God and others, we can learn to trust. We find that love is less about what we do or say and more about who God is and whom He says we are. That lack of communication or contact that once led to insecurity can lead us to the only One who can fully satisfy.
I desire to grow in trusting that being with God is enough. He loves me, period. He doesn’t need to keep saying it for me to trust and know I am fully loved and that His love for me won’t change. 1 John 3:18-20 says it this way: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.” (NIV)
If you find yourself struggling to trust that God’s love for you is enough, consider praying the following prayer. I have found it to be helpful for me on this journey.
Jesus, may I know Your love in the depths of my heart. May I trust in truth that I am Your child and I do not need to say or do anything to gain or earn your acceptance and love. Help me to learn to walk in the security of simply being in Your loving presence that is beyond words. And may Your loving presence overflow into my love for others as I learn to love not with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.
Come along side us as we journey in and out of the wilderness, discovering our Creator in creation.