Therefore, we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements. Acts 15:27-28a
Have you ever felt like God wasn’t giving you an answer to a question you have? Where do you go for an answer? Sometimes we need to look around us at what God is doing and join him in his work. Sometimes we need to trust in the character of the God who loves us, who brings good, who brings life; we need to trust in his timing. Sometimes we need to pay attention to the words already given to us in scripture. Paul and Barnabas relied on the reports of what God had been doing through trustworthy elders and men who had risked their lives for Christ to get their answer.
In Acts 15, it “seemed good” to the leaders. What does “seemed good” mean? Perhaps a peace was given. Each leader and elder experienced something like peace in their personal discerning from the Holy Spirit that their decision would give life to the new believers and the growing churches. In Deuteronomy 30, God addresses the nation of Israel “I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity…. choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” Wisdom enables us to choose life and God says it is not far away, but is very near to us, in our mouths and in our hearts (Deuteronomy 30:11-14). Perhaps in God’s silence, we might realize the answer is already there. Sometimes we just need to rest in his presence, open and receptive.
How do we rest when we don’t get a word from God? Seek a peace that “seems good.” Spiritual director Ruth Barton says guidance “involves the ability to notice what brings a sense of life and freedom to the true self as we experience ourselves in God.” Sensing the movement of God’s Spirit within ourselves and in the lives of others is a habit we can learn. Instead of grasping for and generating our own answers, we can be open to receive the Holy Spirit’s nudging in our heart and our mind.
Take a few moments to quiet yourself in God’s presence. Rest in God’s deep love for you. What “seems good” and life-giving concerning that question you’ve been waiting for God to answer?
By Donna Burns