Have you ever thought about the times when the Bible is silent?
I'm not talking about when the Bible is closed and we don't open it. :) I'm talking about the times in the Bible that we naturally skip over-- the times in history when God did not overtly act, but instead waited.
The Bible is a history book, and I took for granted that it covered God's continuous interactions with man for all of time. However, recently, while reading "Disappointment with God" by Philip Yancey and listening to a sermon series from church effectively titled "Waitgain," I was suddenly confronted with large GAPS in God's timeline.
There are 2 large blocks of silence when the Bible says little to nothing about God's involvement with his people. Was God on vacation? It probably seemed that way to his people at that time. No big miracles. No visions of angels. No leading. Nothing recorded at all. But what we see beautifully in hindsight (so much so that we can overlook the waiting all together), is the great victory after the wait.
1) The first 400 years of silence occurred between the end of Genesis and the beginning of Exodus. At that time, Moses was led to prepare the way out for the Israelites who were oppressed by slavery to Egyptians.
2) The second 400 years of silence occurred between the last prophet Malachi and the beginning of the Gospels. At that time, Jesus came to prepare the way for Israelites and all people who were oppressed by slavery to sin.
Both periods of silence preceded arguably the greatest, most impressive, and boldest interventions of God's power in the history of mankind.
Both of those interventions were for the purpose of saving his oppressed children from evil power greater than themselves.
I have been keeping a journal since I was 9 years old. One of those years (2003), I tried to write an account of every single day for the entire year. It was exhausting and stressful. I just didn't have time, and the things I wrote were usually mundane. On the days that big things happened, I didn't have room to write it all. After that year, I went back to my old habit of writing when I was moved to write. There are long gaps of silences in my journals, but that doesn't mean that I'm not at work. In fact, those times are usually when I am the busiest, but the record of my work doesn't show up until the battles have been won. Only then are the empty pages put into perspective.
God is teaching me that he is similarly at work in these years of waiting, leading up to a future victory. His time table is not the same as ours. One of his most passionate friends on earth described him like this...
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
Though this talk of 400 or 1000 years sounds ridiculously long to us, God has the whole picture in mind and some day we will see it too. For now, we must remember he is in control. From his perspective: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End." He reminds us: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
He has assured us that the end will be worth the wait and wants as many of us as possible to have faith in him, so we will share in his final victory.
"I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory."
1 Peter 1:6-7 (Message translation)