But where does He go when He's silent?
Grammy Audrey always said, "When God is silent, that's when He is the closest to us." And yes, I believe that's true. I know He's always here. But why, when He is so close, can we not feel His presence with us? I was pondering this very question, when He suddenly reminded me of this:
I was six years old and bursting with excitement. Grandpa Bill and Grammy had flown down to Roseburg to visit us, and Grandpa Bill decided he would take me up in his plane. I remember that I didn't have a care in the world as he carefully lifted me up, set me in the seat, and buckled me in. I had complete trust in him. I knew he wouldn't take me up in his plane if he didn't think it was safe.
I felt so comfortable in there that I honestly don't have a memory of the take-off. It wasn't until we were at a safe altitude, and I was happily watching the cars below (smaller than those of my Fisher Price people, which were my favorite toys for some reason) driving down the seemingly unreal freeways, that Grandpa Bill asked me if I'd like to fly the plane.
I shook my head, no.
"Take the wheel," he said, pointing to the steering wheel in front of me.
That's when I noticed there were two steering wheels--one on his side, and one on mine--in case the copilot needed to take over. As I looked at that wheel, my heart ka-thunk--kathunkity-thunked in my chest. There was NO WAY I was going to take control of that plane. I knew nothing about flying planes. I would certainly crash it. I shook my head, more violently this time, and screamed out an ear-piercing "NOOOOOOO! I can't do it!"
"Yes you can! There's nothing to it!" He laughed, and turned the wheel left, then right, to show me I couldn't crash it.
Still I wasn't having it. "No, Grandpa Bill, I can't do it! I won't do it! I want to go back down now. Take me down."
He laughed again, then took his hands off the wheel. He waved his hands above his head and said, "If you don't fly the plane, we're going to crash!"
For the sake of your eyes and space on the page, I won't type my scream. I'll let you imagine it for yourself.
I felt faint. My eyes--which were bugging out of my head--were focused on the ground out the window in front of me, and I was just sure we were going to spin out of control, nosedive, then crash into thousands of billions of trillions of pieces all over the Roseburg Valley Mall parking lot. So out of desperation, I gripped the wheel.
Although I was angry with him at the time, I realized that I had been ridiculous not to trust him. He wouldn't have had me take the wheel if he didn't think it was safe.
But the truth of it really was (I found out, years down the road) that Grandpa Bill NEVER let go of that wheel. He only gave me the illusion that he did. Although he had lifted his hands above his head, he had been flying the plane with his knees! I was never in control of that plane. He'd only wanted me to feel like I was--so I'd learn--so I'd grow--so I'd be closer to him--so I'd have a sense of accomplishment.
So I'd trust him.
That's what God does when He's silent. He wants us to feel like we're in control--to learn--to grow--to be closer to him--to give us a sense of accomplishment.
To trust Him.
So His hands let go of the wheel, and the whole time we think we're flying the plane, He's flying it with his knees.