“When God Seems Silent” conference geared toward graduating seniors

Biola will host “When God Seems Silent” as a free conference on May 11-12.

Jared Dobbs and Jared Dobbs

Talbot philosophy professor J.P. Moreland and Mike Erre, lead pastor of Mariners Church at Mission Viejo, will both be speaking at a free conference at Biola this weekend.

The conference, entitled “When God Seems Silent,” will be held on Metzger Lawn, starting Friday with the first lecture by Moreland at 6:30 p.m. The event aims to help inform students about hearing God’s voice in uncertain times. Biblical studies professors Rick Langer and Joanne Jung, along with Erre, will speak on Saturday. Chapel credit is being offered for each of the four sessions.

Hearing from God in times of uncertainty

There will be a special focus on the graduating senior community, many of whom are trying to make the transition from the university to the real world. 

Senior business major Justin Yeutter is one of those students graduating this semester, and he stated that the future seems
uncertain for him.

“It feels surreal. I don’t think I’ve realized fully what’s going on,” Yeutter said.

Langer explained that many Christians especially want to hear from God in this season of their lives.

“Christian students want to not simply find a career, but they want to find what God has called them to.  So they have a double-felt need for a message from God,” Langer said.

The conference includes a senior commissioning with professor Mickey Klink specifically for students who are graduating this semester.  It will occur Saturday at 10:51 a.m. at Sycamore Lawn, just south of Calvary Chapel.

Understanding how God works

Associated Students religious lecture coordinator Ryan MacDonald explained that he felt the need to organize the conference after many discussions with Student Development, Todd Pickett and associate dean of students Matt Hooper.

They found that many students have been going through difficult circumstances and people fall into sin when they feel like God is not responding.  This conference was designed to address the root cause — a misunderstanding of how God works in the lives of people, according to MacDonald.

Spencer Posey, a junior Christian ministries major, explained that he knows many friends who have recently been feeling that God is far from them.

“I just think it’s a really interesting process that he has a lot of people go through — I've gone through it myself; I'm sure I will in the future, too,” Posey said.

Langer agrees that such feelings are a very common experience; however, he cautions against several misunderstandings about hearing God.

Learning to wait when God seems silent

Many Christians want to hear from God like the men in the Bible did, but they forget the passage of time that occurs within just a few chapters, according to Langer.

“We misread our Bibles. How old was Abraham when he first heard from God? Seventy-five.  So, how old are you? You’re already complaining at 18. Over the life of Abraham, you have a half a dozen major episodes of God speaking to him in a fairly profound way — and decades of time in between when the basic message is, ‘Press on. Live! Tend your flock. Love your children,’” Langer said.

Christians also try to control God, not allowing him to direct matters in accordance with his will, according to Langer.

“A lot of times this issue why is God silent should be rephrased, ‘Why didn't he tell me what I asked him?’” Langer said.

Langer acknowledges that he has felt God seem silent in his own life, and Langer has had to learn how to deal with himself when those times come around.

“I suppose the number one thing I do is try and press on faithfully with what I was last given to do,” Langer said.

Langer’s Saturday message will focus on the life of Joseph, who had to deal with similar issues during his years in slavery and in prison, according to Langer.

“He goes through a long period of basically having silence from God,” Langer said.

How we respond to the silence is what really matters, according to MacDonald, who recognizes that there are students on campus struggling with sin and doubt.

MacDonald also wants students to come and engage with the teaching.

“Most conferences nowadays are about hype and energy. This conference is about dealing with our souls, and realizing there are students at Biola that are not saved. There are people who are struggling with their faith deeply, and we need to come with our hearts prepared for God to minister to us and to receive,” MacDonald said.

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