Awkward Silence

It has been quite some time since I have found the time and motivation to write again. A lot has happened since the last blog post. At least for me, it has felt a bit awkward not having the right words to write. Writing has always been my “go to move” when there is something burning in my heart. It is how I best craft what I want to say in the clearest way. But for a while, the words were just not there. I had countless ideas floating around that I believe can truly impact people and change the way we think, but the transition from being just a thought or idea to becoming words on a screen just was not happening.

This summer I had the privilege to once again work as a Counselor at a youth Bible camp called Camp Bayouca. It is a wonderful place to minister to kids and be challenged yourself as well. One of the things that we do at camp is known as Cooperatives, or TCC. In short, we give our campers a specific task or challenge that they are to try and accomplish, and afterwards we gather up and talk about what they learned through the challenge and how it can apply to real life situations. I always enjoy leading this because it is always interesting to watch how creative kids can be when trying to accomplish something. But it is also interesting because of the discussion afterwards. It is so crazy to see these kids who are always running around having fun, yelling, surprising you with new things, all of a sudden become silent when you ask them how God can be tied into what they do. There is always a period of silence after asking, “What is God trying to teach you?”. After a while it becomes an awkward silence as kids begin to shrink down, avoid eye contact and beg inside for someone else to answer first. It’s that awkward silence that gets them thinking about things they don’t often think about.

What is God trying to teach me? That’s the question we don’t ask ourselves nearly enough. How is God trying to push me to grow?

In the book of Numbers, in chapter 20, Moses was leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. But the desert was proving to be more than they could handle, so they began crying out against Moses, wishing that they would have stayed in Egypt where at least they had water. God spoke to Moses and said,

 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” 

So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. –Numbers 20:8-12

I can only imagine the tension Moses had to have been feeling as he walked up to do what God had not told him to do. The silent walk, the tension building up inside, the fear of sounding like a fool. Moses was not known as a great speaker, not to mention the fact that he’d be talking to a rock in front of the whole congregation. “All you have to do is speak”, God said. But there was an awkward silence in heaven as Moses struck the rock once, then twice.

The next verse in the chapter, verse 12, God says this to Moses, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

How often are we as Christians sitting in awkward silence as God waits for us to stand and say something? How often are we looking around us hoping that someone else will say what we know we should be saying. Moses missed out on the blessing God promised his people. Moses never got to experience the land God had given Israel because he did not trust God and honor him by doing as he commanded.

God has blessings in store for you! He has an amazing future that requires faith. You may be sitting where you are, thinking, “I’m not all that smart. I don’t know what to say. Or, I don’t want to embarrass myself and say the wrong thing.” But notice, when God told Moses to speak to the rock, he didn’t give him a script. There is no one right thing to say. That awkwardness or frustration, that tension building up inside or whatever force that is keeping your voice concealed is the very thing that God wants to hear. The awkward silence is meant for good. It gets you thinking about the good and the bad. But most importantly, it gets you thinking about how God uses both to help you grow closer to him. Embrace the awkward silence and act upon it! What is God trying to teach you? Speak to the rock and he will continually show you.

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