When God is Silent
Have you endured a trial feeling that God was no where to be found? Why would God suddenly withdraw when He promised to never leave or forsake you? Many people, including myself, have experienced this silence. I have suffered through many trials over the past two years, while God has seemed DISTANT. Instead of being in the driver’s seat guiding me through His Spirit, I feel as if I am driving alone in the dark. His silence has been DEAFENING. I have read every post on God’s silence I can find on the internet, but none have helped me. I know God is working all around me and through others, but sometimes I feel He is no longer working through me. Have you ever felt like this?
Over the past two years, I have suffered from foot pain, bursitis, neck and back pain. Sometimes only one of these ailments hurt, but other times they all hurt. Being a chronic pain sufferer for over 15 years, I have had these problems before. The only difference in this two year trial has been God’s silence. I have learned to deal with the chronic pain, but God’s silence has made the past 2 years difficult. Even though God seems silent, He has answered some of my prayers, but I long to hear His still small voice. I want Him to tell me what to post on this blog. I want Him to tell me the direction I am to go with my ministry. So what have I done during this silent period? I have learned to wait. One of my 5 New Year’s Resolutions is WAIT.
Even when God seems silent, He has lessons to teach us. I have learned that His silence can be just as sweet as His voice. God’s silence has taught me how to listen in a different way. I am going to teach you what to do when God seems silent, because He promises to never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
What to do when God is Silent
READ THE BIBLE
When God is not answering your prayers or is silent about the direction for your life, look to His Word to seek instruction. God will always speak through His Word. You might not find the answer you are looking for, but you will hear the Holy Spirit guide you as you read. You can also learn how others have handled God’s silence. I recommend reading the Psalms during this time. King David experienced silence from God on many occasions. In Psalm 10, David asks the Lord why He stands afar off? Even though God does not answer, David still prays. Never stop praying during times of silence.
God is also silent with Job as He goes through his suffering. Job lost his children, his livestock, and his servants. Then, Satan attacked his body with boils, yet Job stays faithful to God. Even when God finally answers Job at the end of the book, God never tells him why he suffered. Even though this is an unpopular topic in many churches today, God will allow you to suffer. He will also allow you to suffer more than you can bear, because He wants you to learn to lean on Him. The trials in life allow us to become more Christ-like. It also produces endurance. Many of my trials last longer than I want them too. They can go ON and ON and ON and ON and ON. Get the picture!!
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (NASB)
CONFESS ALL KNOWN SIN
When I experience silence from God, I always confess my sins to the Lord. God’s silence is not necessarily caused by sin, as you can learn from the book of Job, but it is a good place to start.
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
That it cannot save;
Nor is His ear so dull
That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
And your sins have hidden His [a]face from you so that He does not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2 (NASB)Sin can hinder your prayers from being answered. Print out a copy of my Sin List from A-Z. Confess every known sin you can think of. If the sin is against the Lord, confess it directly to Him. If the sin is against another person, you must make restitution. Go to him/her and try to sort out your differences. Even if the relationship is not reconciled, you were at least obedient to the Lord. You are not responsible for the outcome, but are responsible for your actions.
Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 (NKJV)
SING PRAISES TO THE LORD
A great way to fill the silent times in your life is with praise. Ask the Lord to fill you with His Spirit to overflowing. “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, written by Thomas Obediah Crisholm and William Marion Runyan, has become my favorite hymn. The words are written from the following verse:
It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
In order to truly understand this song, you need to know the background of the book of Lamentations, written by the prophet Jeremiah. Lamentations is a book of mourning over the destruction of the temple and the fall of Jerusalem. The people in the city were suffering from starvation, fear and abandonment. Many were taken captive into Babylon while others died. Even though they cry out to God, He is silent. In Lamentations 3:1-18, Jeremiah describes his anguish. He says “My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord” (v. 18). Just as he has lost all hope, he reminds himself of God’s lovingkindness and compassion (verses 19-24). Remembering God’s faithfulness restores his hope. To fully understand Jeremiah’s anguish, I recommend reading Lamentations 3:1-38.
This great song and Lamentations 3 have brought back my joy in the Lord. The joy of the Lord is truly our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). So many times we try to comfort ourselves through friends, television, a vacation, shopping or eating. None of these things can bring joy to our lives. JOY, which is a fruit of the Spirit, can only come from the Lord. Even when God seems silent in your life, you can have joy.
My daughter will be graduating from high school in a few months. Her band played, “No Shadow of Turning” for their last formal concert. When the song began, I remember thinking it was so beautiful it could be a hymn. Then, I heard the melody of a hymn but had a hard time figuring out which one it was. After awhile, it became obvious that it was a rendition of “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. This has become my morning anthem, because it reminds me of God’s faithfulness. Don’t give up on God even in His silence. Because of His faithfulness in the past, you can trust your future to Him. Even if you don’t know where He is leading you, you can trust Him.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; Hebrews 10:23-25 (NASB).
Please listen to “No Shadow of Turning” by David Gillingham. I realize this piece is long, but you can listen while doing something else. I want you to listen to this song so often that the words are ingrained in your mind. You will constantly be reminded of God’s faithfulness as you sing the hymn. If you are not familiar with the words of this hymn, then listen to this Gaither version by clicking: “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.
Otherwise listen to this beautiful orchestra piece performed by Wheaton College Symphonic Band.