This is a test.
This is only a test.
I've been hanging onto that truth... and to my friends while at the same time spending more time alone with God. Yesterday, the reading from Streams in the Desert was all about the value of time alone with God, and how nobody becomes great without it. Here's an excerpt:
The greatest miracles of Elijah and Elisha took place when they were alone with God. It was alone with God that Jacob became a prince; and just there that we, too, may become princes--"men (aye, and women too!) wondered at" (Zech. 3:8). Joshua was alone when the Lord came to him. (Josh. 1:1) Gideon and Jephthah were by themselves when commissioned to save Israel. (Judges 6:11 and 11:29) Moses was by himself at the wilderness bush. (Exodus 3:1-5) Cornelius was praying by himself when the angel came to him. (Acts 10:2) No one was with Peter on the house top, when he was instructed to go to the Gentiles. (Acts 10:9) John the Baptist was alone in the wilderness (Luke 1:90), and John the Beloved alone in Patmos, when nearest God. (Rev. 1:9) One thing that has been difficult for me lately is that except for that one time on my birthday when I felt the Lord speak to me, He has pretty much been silent throughout the whole process that I'm going through. That has been the maddening thing. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but even after 22 years in ministry I have found myself saying, "Are you even really there?"
Then today I came across this quote, related to times when God is not speaking:
"When a student takes a test, the teacher is always silent." - Jim Goll
So that's why.
So now I know.
I need to continue to come to the secret place even when I don't feel Him there.
I need to keep singing even when I don't sense Him.
I need to keep crying out even when I don't see Him answer right away.
This is a test. This is only a test.