Have you ever been reading a great book when all of the sudden the author makes a dramatic pause.
Silence overtakes a normally noise-filled place like a carnival or mall.
A blustery day suddenly stills to an eerie calm.
Traffic comes to a screeching halt and motorists are left wondering what is next.
A crying baby stops mid-scream and begins to smile, but we, as the reader, don't know why.
These types of pauses set the reader up for a twist in the once-predictable events of the story.
They make your mind imagine all kinds of possible events to follow.
But most of all they grab your attention and let you know something big is about to happen.
My Bible reading today was all about the 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testament.
I've always wondered what was going on in history as God seemed to stop speaking through prophets.
I still wonder how those generations felt as they read the history of God's people and the promises of a coming Messiah and yet year after year things seemed to get worse and God seemed to be further away.
I have to believe that tucked throughout mankind were pockets of people crying out to Him, longing for the day when Hope would come for the world.
And I have to believe that those people, even though Jesus would be someone of whom they only dreamed, received eternal life based on their law and their limited knowledge of God's grace.
But, can you imagine being part of the group of people who began to hear rumors that the Messiah had arrived?
Can you imagine being chosen to be a key player in the unfolding story of God's new plan for the entire world?
God's dramatic pause was 400 years of silence.
As the Creator of the entire universe, His pause had to be long enough to gain the world's attention.
His pause had to be purposeful.
His pause had to remove all doubt that anyone alive was creating the next chapter based on what they already knew.
He needed new characters in His dramatic story.
Characters who had only heard of but had not seen God's hand at work.
Characters who were willing to walk by faith and not by sight.
The New Testament only makes sense in light of the Old Testament.
Alone, the New Testament offers Jesus without explaining why we needed Him to arrive.
Alone, the New Testament offers Hope without a way of grasping just how much hope was needed.
And the dramatic pause adds one more level of depth to the greatest story ever written-
the story of mankind.
I believe that God is still writing His story.
He's writing it through your life and through mine.
Sometimes we see Him working in mighty ways in our life.
Our confidence in Him is strong, because He shows up in very personal ways throughout our days.
Other times, He seems to be far away.
As if He has purposely chosen to become silent in our life story, God can sometimes seem more like just the "Creator in the sky" than a "personal Father."
These seasons of life are never easy.
Our prayers can feel empty and lost in a sea of clouds.
I still struggle when I reach places in life where God seems to lift His pen and stop writing.
But when I remember the power of a dramatic pause,
I can become very excited knowing that when God chooses to pull back a bit He always has a reason.
He's working on me even as He stops working through me and around me so personally.
And every time He chooses to pause,
I can know without a doubt that something powerful is going to happen in the future.
He is the creator of not only life but also drama.
God loves suspense.
God loves passion.
So I want to learn to embrace the pause button.
I want to become better at handling those times in my life when I'm wondering where God is.
If you feel as if your prayers are not being heard or if you feel as if God has lifted the pen on the writing of your story,
He's still writing.
He's just in the midst of writing about a very dramatic pause in your life.
A time when you are being prepared for the next big thing.
Today, whether you are in a time of silence or a time of great drama in your walk with God,
know that as the author of your life story He uses every sentence and every chapter to lead you closer and closer to Him.
Trust Him today.
Even in His silence.