“When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst.

Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return.”

Lamentations 3:28-31

If you’re struggling to breathe under the weight of your life right now, then the writer of Lamentations has a plan to offer you hope:

Enter. Bow. Wait.

Pretty much a prescription for everything we love to do, right? Okay, probably not. But stick with me.

All of the extroverts reading this just sighed at the very first line of the verse and rolled their eyes. Go off by yourself? No thanks. Who wants to do that? And all of the introverts just raised their hands. But if we can move past that instruction–the next one just might bring us to a screeching halt.

Enter the silence.

In our culture we generally don’t like to be alone, and we really don’t like silence.

I can relate. Completely.

I went through a season where God felt painfully silent. And I did not like it. Not one bit. I felt ignored, lonely, scared, and unloved.

The silent treatment feels like punishment, because it’s often used that way. We all know people who are so adept at freezing you out that they make Alaska look like a tropical getaway.

But that’s not the kind of silence we’re talking about here. This is the kind of silence you’re invited into, not silence that’s forced upon you because of something you did or didn’t do. This is quiet that opens up space for God, not isolates you from him.

When God was silent with me, I became the opposite. I was a ranting, raving fool. But I wish I had taken the advice in this passage and brought myself before God and just listened. I have a feeling it may have saved me three years worth of frustration and heartache.

Can you recall a time when silence was golden? Maybe you were a new mom and you got a precious hour by yourself to just go and sit at Starbucks. No voices asking you for things or little hands tugging on you with another demand. Or after a particularly stressful time at work, you had a beach getaway where you did nothing but sit on the sand with a book in your hand?

Golden, indeed.

Maybe we need to reclaim silence as a gift, instead of viewing it as punishment. Receive it as a chance to enter into a sacred space where we can be still, not have the pressure of asking questions, and just wait for the God who never walks out and fails to return.

Because there is a promise tucked in there, attached to the waiting.

Hope.

It says, “Wait for hope to appear.” It doesn’t say wait to see if hope appears. It just says wait for it. It’s coming. Unfortunately, I don’t have a timetable for you (or for me). And I know waiting is hard. But let these words bring you comfort and a path through the hard and heavy days.

Enter. Bow. Wait.

~Gut-Check and Action Steps~

  1. Do you struggle with silence? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think you can claim silence as a gift? If not, talk with God about that.
  3. If you’re feeling hopeless today, memorize this verse and meditate on it when you’re feeling down.