We Don’t Always Understand God’s “Silence”
God disappointed me deeply when I was 8. At that age, my nascent understanding of the power of God and my developing interest in gadgets overlapped and caused my brain to generate what I thought at the time to be an awesome idea. I prayed fervently, intensely, longingly, devoutly, and for minutes at a time (a long period for a distractible kid) for something that I was sure God would appreciate and thus provide. I prayed for a GI-Joe-sized human to become my helper and construct for me tiny walkie-talkies disguised as quarters. I reasoned that with these devices, I could communicate covertly with my siblings while we were at school. It seemed to me a logical—and thus surefire— request, if I prayed hard enough. To my surprise and disappointment, God delivered neither my miniature engineer nor my miniature walkietalkies. I should note for the record that I later acquired two brilliant sons and an iPhone. Decades later, I’m still sometimes disappointed when I pray. Like many people, I get frustrated by what seems to be indifference or silence I get in response. God often fails to communicate and provide solutions according to my expectations.
We can’t put God on our schedule or expect him to take orders. Then I realize that I’m still very much that 8-year-old novice at praying. God didn’t operate on my timeline or according to my desires then, and he doesn’t now. He responds in ways that I may never understand. Writer Richard Janet addresses this reality of faith in “Finding Solace in Silence.” The theme of this issue of Liguorian is “Church in time,” and you’ll find more articles that speak to how we interact with our faith and time. Columnist Johan van Parys urges us to value the past and to live the Gospel in our own time and place. Kathleen Basi discusses a time to speak with a voice like thunder and a time to talk like a gentle breeze. And there’s more. Please take your time with this issue. As for me, I could use a candy bar. I just pray the vending machine works.