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I have a confession to make—I have experienced seasons when I don’t hear from God. Yes, I mean complete silence for an extended period. At first, it was disconcerting, especially when other Christians seemed to have a direct hotline to God at all times. What’s wrong with me? I questioned.
Have you noticed that Christians are quick to share stories of answered prayers ladened with all the feel-goods and warm fuzzies? But we’re not nearly as vocal about the desperate times we persisted in prayer and are met with a wall of silence. However, I think these stories might be just as important. So, if your prayers seem to be echoing off the walls, don’t lose faith.
You are among good company. Job was well acquainted with God’s silence. We read 37 chapters of how this faithful man cried out to God but was met with deafening silence. Abraham was met with silence as he planned to sacrifice his son. There’s no mention of Joseph hearing from God while in prison either. In my own life, God’s silence has tempted me to doubt. I think most of us can relate.
What Can We do During the Periods of Silence?
Examine Your Life
Make sure nothing is blocking you from being able to hear God’s voice.We must begin with asking ourselves this question: Is there any unconfessed sin in my life?
“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened.” Psalm 68:18
- Is there someone I need to forgive?
- Do I have wrong motives?
- Have I put anything above my relationship with God?
As God brings things to mind, be quick to ask for forgiveness.
Remember, God, delights in restoring our fellowship with Him. There is no shame in repentance.
Please understand, God’s silence does not always mean we have unconfessed sin. We read that Job was righteous and yet he went through many trials while God remained silent. Checking our heart and motives is always a good place to begin when experiencing silence from God.
Accept God’s Sovereignty
God doesn’t have a responsibility to answer us or communicate at all, for that matter. And yet evidence of His mercy and great love are on display in creation, in His word, and through the life and death of His son.
Sovereignty means realizing He is in control and can be trusted.
“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:10
God’s silence doesn’t mean we should turn our backs and stop praying. Don’t give up! The Psalms are a great example of crying out to God.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.” Psalm 22:1-2
“I love you, Lord, my strength.The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalm 18:1-2;6
Recognize that Silence Creates Hunger
When God is silent, it can lead us to a richer, deeper experience and hunger for more of Him.
Let’s relate this concept to our diets. Last summer I did a dietary cleanse, eliminating refined sugar, processed foods, bread, grains, and red meat from my diet. The cleanse was very restrictive and specific in what I could and could not eat. After several days, I was allowed to slowly add certain foods like grains back into my diet. I cannot tell you how great that quinoa tasted! If we allow it, spiritual hunger can cause us to be grateful for every opportunity to hear from God.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6
Remember for 37 chapters in the book of Job, God is silent. But then in chapter 38, God speaks and questions Job.
“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.”
In chapter 40, Job responds to God. “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer— twice, but I will say no more.”
Then finally in chapter 42: “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.”
Waiting means trusting. Can we trust God even during the silence? Job did, Abraham did, Joseph did, Mary did, Paul did—and so can we!
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
So, if you are in the midst of a season of silence, remember that God has not left you. In fact, if you are a Christian, His Holy Spirit lives within you. He is as close as your breath. God is all about relationship. From the beginning with Adam and Eve, He walked and talked with them in the garden. Throughout the Bible, we see God’s desire to be known through relationship. We must trust if He is silent, He has a good reason because He is good!
“God you are good and you do what is good; teach me your decrees.” Psalm 119:68
Hold on beloved, the Lord is near to those who draw near to Him!
LET’S CHAT: How about you? Have you experienced times of silence in your relationship with the Lord?