God Is Faithful Even When He Is Silent

By Louise Holzhauer

As a new bride in 1980, I learned that I had Stage 4 cancer. In a successful effort to save my life, doctors prescribed a drastic regimen of surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy. As a result of the physical and emotional suffering, I entered a dark depression which lasted many years. My marriage faltered and I was told I might never have children. “Attractive woman, confident role-model, fulfilled wife, successful professional, prospective mother, happy Christian” – all the ways I defined myself lay shattered in pieces on the road behind me. My prayers bounced off the ceiling. The silence of God was deafening. 

When I became a Christian at the age of 18, I sincerely gave my heart to Paul’s Unknown God from Acts 17:23. Even worse, after that conversion moment, I began to give my heart to a god I made up in my head, a god who played fair, who gave good little Christians everything they asked for. The cross was something Christ did 2000 years ago, not anything relevant for today. Human ethics taught me I was a pretty good kid, and so I deserved pretty good things. I had a very small god that I kept in a box who was only interested in my comfort. But the real God was wise and strong enough to smash that idol, and His mercy was great enough to follow me through all the valleys where I ran away from Him afterward.

Human ethics taught me I was a pretty good kid, and so I deserved pretty good things. I had a very small god that I kept in a box who was only interested in my comfort.

One day a woman I knew at church asked me whether I believed in God, and I told her that I wasn’t sure anymore. She said, “Alright. Why don’t we see what it is you don’t believe.” So we studied the Bible together for many years. As we studied I began to realize that the God of Joseph who meant disaster for His own good purposes was quite a different God from an idol which existed to provide me with pleasure. First my head was awakened to the radiating truth of the Scriptures. If Christ would die for me, then how would He not also give me all things? – all things needful and glorifying, all things rich and eternal, not all things comfortable and temporary. I began, literally, to be transformed through the renewing of my mind.

That transformation led to all kinds of other miracles. God gave me gifts like repentance, hope, forgiveness, freedom, compassion and love for others. I gradually emerged from my cave. And then God began to use me to walk alongside other sufferers, abused women, dying friends, and even other idol-worshipers. In short, He put a heart of flesh where there had been a heart of stone.

Mine is a story of destruction, but in the end, it wasn’t me that was destroyed. After all, I’m still here, and I’m still married, and I am more alive right now than when I was 20. So what was destroyed? “Attractive woman, confident role-model, fulfilled wife, successful professional, prospective mother, happy Christian.” These are the things that I mourned. I had a little god, made in my own image, who was going to give me these things. It was that god − that silent god with a little ‘g’ − who was destroyed.

My God is no longer an idol of pleasure, though I have pleasure from Him. My God is the Man of Sorrows who is transforming my life from one degree of glory to another until we end up in each other’s arms in that place which is so full of Him that it has to be called Glory. And that God is not small, silent or nameless. In fact, He shouts His love from a Roman cross in a voice like rolling thunder, and His name is Jesus.

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