Browsing in a gift shop recently, a plaque on the wall caught my eye. It so eloquently stated, “Just because God is silent, does not mean that He is absent.” I’d been struggling to deal with some tough things around that time, so reading this was a perspective check for me.
Immediately, my mind flew back to a Developmental Psychology class I took in college. I was introduced to Swiss psychologist Jean’s Piaget’s stages of cognitive development in children. Specifically, I thought about the term “object permanence” where infants learn that things continue to exist even when they cannot be seen. Grasping object permanence can lead to separation anxiety, as babies learn that when they can’t see mom or dad, they’ve gone away.
Sure enough, the babies that grew up under our roof progressed through these stages. We witnessed it, watching them belly laugh at games of peekaboo, as well as their howls of dismay if they were left in a playpen or highchair and could no longer see us. I remember thinking to myself at their panicked reactions, “Child, I am right here, around the corner!”
Naturally, they progressed past this, and we dropped them off successfully at preschool, kindergarten, and so on right through to freshman year drop-off at college.
Spiritually speaking, God must delight in seeing our growth as we progress through developmental milestones. Yet sometimes, how quickly we regress backward in our thoughts and reactions to our circumstances, just as I found myself the day I encountered that plaque in the store. Even though the Lord has proven himself faithful so many times in our lives, somehow thoughts like these sneak in:
“God isn’t with me this time.”
“This has gone on so long. He must not care.”
“My problem is insignificant to the Lord. He has bigger things to do.”
You’ve been there. You can add your runaway anxious thoughts to the list. Real people in the scriptures had these thoughts, too. David after running for his life so many times. Elijah hiding out in a cave. The disciples in a boat during a storm as Jesus slept below deck. Nephi lamenting and asking himself “why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?” leading right into his “Awake, my soul” perspective check comeback! (2 Nephi 4:17-35)
Even seasoned saints are subject to doubt and human emotions while we reside this side of eternity. In cooking terms, certain materials like cast iron or stoneware become seasoned the more they are used, enduring high temperatures to develop wonderful non-stick properties. I want to strive to be well-seasoned like these cooking pieces so that, although I may experience discouraging thoughts amid my circumstances, they simply do not stick around for long!
All because I remember the permanence of my God. Who is all knowing and ever present, and loves me through any separation anxiety with assurances of “Child I am right here, right around the corner!”
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.