When the Silence Makes You Scream

I have come to realize that I am one of those learners who needs to see and hear things at the same time in order for them stick and click in my brain. If I can’t have one of those things when I’m attempting to learn something or listen to someone, I most likely won’t have any idea what just happened. Sure, I’m pretty smart and I can figure out context clues on my own, but I know without a doubt that if I can see and hear something, it will never fade away.

One of my favorite classes in college was Anatomy and Physiology. Weird, I know, considering I graduated on the other end of the spectrum. I had the hardest professor at the university and marched into her class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, spiral, pen, and glasses in hand. I even sat in the front row, nudging the nursing students out of the way. My professor was a woman who stood far above me, tattooed up, and had short, red hair. She was a woman to be afraid of. But she knew her stuff, and she made sure we knew ours too. She taught the tiny details of the muscles and intricately described how synapses crossed between nerves. She also had bones dance and skin crawl when test time arrived. Luckily, she provided her notes and lectures online for us to study.

I learned that if I sat down a few days before a test, spoke her notes out loud as I read them, a filing cabinet would shoot open and store the information in my head. I can proudly say I made an A in her class, only missing one or two questions on each test. I threw the curve each time, and didn’t make too many friends as a result. But to this day, seven years later, I can still tell you how our muscles work because of the way I learned them: by seeing and hearing.

The more I walk with God, the more I adore hearing and seeing His character woven in the big and small things. And when that happens, I can never forget it. I could tell you endless stories of times I have seen Him and heard Him:

He has painted and shaped things, revealed the depths of His heart through the eyes of other people, pulled back the curtain of spiritual warfare. He shows me things in the morning, when I’m dreaming at night, and while I’m pulling a shot of espresso at work. He has roared in the thunderclouds during a summer storm and He has whispered words of intimacy to my soul. He talks to me in the car, at the store, and in the shower. He speaks peace into my spirit when I lay my head down at night and He speaks intense fire into the depths of my bones when it’s time for me to raise my shield and plunge my sword. He knows me and knows that I draw life from when I see and hear Him.

But what happens when it doesn’t happen? Has He walked away from me? Has He stopped talking or showing up? Seeds of doubt enter and cause me to think if I even heard or saw Him at all. Maybe none of it was actually real or true. Maybe I was just going crazy. I know I’m not the only one, but it sure feels like it during those times. White walls and blank pages fill me, and the silence is so unbearable that all I can do is scream.

So why not open your mouth and scream?

I think sometimes we put life on pause when we don’t hear or see God. We become afraid of walking forward because we don’t know what lies beyond the bridge we’re about to step on. We become totally dependent upon hearing and seeing, that we diminish the reality that we have His Spirit living inside of us, that we carry something of divine nature empowering us to walk it out.

Our Father cries out, Would someone just open their mouth and proclaim the day as one worth living? I’ve breathed My Spirit into them. MY SPIRIT. They are beyond capable of being the ones who create things to see and speak things to hear. I’ve closed my mouth so they open theirs.

We know how the story goes.

God shoveled some dirt together, probably spat on it to make it a little more workable, and created Adam. A lifeless being. Until God breathed His air into Adam’s. The kiss of life. His breath in our lungs. Later on in the story, Jesus appears to His disciples after rising from the dead. He speaks peace over them and then breathes on them, commanding them to receive the Holy Spirit.

Both God and Jesus breathed into man, first for carnal life, secondly for spiritual life. We live in the day of breathing in the Holy Spirit. But if we only breathe in and keep holding our breath, then our faces will turn blue and we will most likely explode. We have to breathe out, we have to speak out. We have to believe that what we say matters because it is coming from the Spirit of the Living God.

Those times when we don’t think we hear or see God, maybe it’s just a detailed invitation for us to open our mouths and speak His words of life and love. Be discerning, but also trusting that God is eagerly sitting on the edge of His throne, waiting for you to open your mouth. He loves when His children speak up, whether a small whisper or a loud scream. The line which divides heaven and earth fades when we open our mouths and allow the Mighty Lion to speak forth. The veil is removed and we can see into the holy of holies when the word of God is released through His sons and daughters.

Do you realize that what you have to say matters because the Holy Spirit lives within you? Are you using your voice, or are you sitting in silence? Is what you’re speaking for worth the energy?

Say something. Come on. I dare you.