Though it feels like God is absent, He is working in the still and lifeless seasons.
Our yard sits under a blanket of snow, still and lifeless from the outside. Inside, though, life is at work. Legos flood the carpet in one room, half empty cups line the kitchen counter, and the crumbs from a quickly eaten meal remain on the table. Little feet rush from room to room and a walkie-talkie crackles a message from a “spy” on a mission. Activity, impossible to see from the outside, gives life to our home.
From the outside, our lives can sometimes feel like a still and lifeless house. A blanket of blah covers our days; we wonder if the Lord is alive inside. From the outside, His presence seems absent. Situations remain unchanged. Praying becomes monotonous and feels ineffective. Frustration seeps in. Life is stagnant.
Have you been there? Maybe you’re there now? Can I let you in on a secret? God is working on the inside even in the midst of this still and lifeless season. He is at work even when you can’t see Him.
Do your remember Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha? We know that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5). Yet, when Jesus heard that Lazarus was extremely sick, He stayed “two days longer in the place where he was” (John 11:6). I imagine Mary and Martha felt a little frustrated. Here their brother, who Jesus loves, is dying — their prayers ineffective, their hope fading, their situation stagnant. Their Lord is absent, and Lazarus lost his life before Jesus made an appearance. Upon His arrival “Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died’” (John 11:21). And Mary says the same thing to Jesus when she meets Him in John 11:32. I don’t blame them. I likely would have reacted in the same way.
In fact, isn’t that how we react in lifeless seasons? We don’t see progress, we don’t see God moving, and we question, “Lord where are you?” If only you’d show up, if only you’d do something. But just as my seemingly lifeless house bustles with activity unbeknownst to the passerby, our God is at work. He has a plan.
He had a plan for Lazarus, too. It involved a trip to the tomb where He instructed them to move the stone. Martha protested; after all, Lazarus had been dead for four days and she worried about the condition of the body. “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’” (John 11:40). And with that, the stone was moved and Jesus called out for Lazarus who walked out of the tomb alive, resurrected.
Can you hear our Lord in your season of stillness? His whisper can be heard in the quiet lifelessness if you’ll listen, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” Those words, that promise, it wasn’t just for Martha. It is for you and me, too. In the still, lifeless seasons of life, He is working. His plan is active, even when we can’t see the evidence. And though we may not understand it, His plan is always greater than what we had hoped for.
Had Jesus rescued Lazarus from death, He couldn’t have resurrected him from it. In your life, too, He is writing a story of resurrection. In His time, He will bring life to the lifeless season, and it will be better than any immediate intervention you had ever hoped for.
Lord, these seasons of stillness are hard. I long to hear from You. I so badly want to see You at work. Father, help me to trust that You have a plan that brings life and glory to the Lord, even when I cannot see the evidence. Thank you for the way You love me. Thank You for Your perfect timing and plan. Please give me faith in the stillness.
In Jesus name,