- Ballynahinch Congregational
Times of Silence
By Rev Victor Neill
‘Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence' (Psalm 94 v 17)
The Psalmist, it seems, felt isolated and in a lonely place, bereft of conversation and encouraging words ‘my soul had almost dwelt in silence’. The sense of loneliness and the silence that goes with it, is something that most find difficult to cope with. But, thankfully just as the Psalmist, the believer is never robbed of the fellowship and companionship of the Lord, for we have in our Lord Jesus, the One ‘who sticketh closer that a brother.’ (Proverbs 18 v 24). So often in those dark, difficult and lonely seasons of life, He speaks quietly to our heart and His Word is what helps and speaks into our situation. We recall the Saviour calmed the trouble sea with His Word and so He says to us in our turmoil and perhaps sense of loneliness, ‘Peace be still’ and as we rest in Him, we have that calm, that peace and His assuring presence and like the Psalmist we shall be able to testify ‘the Lord has been my help!’. And just as the Lord said to Isaiah, so He says to us ‘I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand' (Isaiah 51 v 16). He is always there, helping, loving, protecting and sheltering. The hymn puts it ‘I will not forget thee or leave thee, in my hands, I’ll hold thee, in my arms I’ll fold thee; I will not forget thee or leave thee, I am thy Redeemer, I will care for thee’.
But, perhaps there are those who are not hearing the Lord’s voice as clearly as once they did and He may seem distant from you. The reason for that could be that you have allowed something or someone to come between you and Him. What is therefore required is honesty on your part - be honest with yourself and be honest with the Lord. Should there be unconfessed sin, then confess it, for we have the promise ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1 v 9). On the other hand it could well be an attack of the devil, who certainly wants you feel that the Lord is distant from you not interested in you and does not care about you – but remember ‘he is a liar and the father of it!' (John 8 v 44).
The Saviour’s promise remains – and remember He is the Author of Truth! ‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’ (Matthew 28 v 20)