When God is Silent
If I’m honest there are days when I think, “Can I even discern God’s voice?” There have been times when I feel so close to Him and there are LONG stretches when I wonder where God is. I wonder if He really is listening to me.
There are times when I think, “God I know you led me to this decision, so why are you so silent now that I’ve followed you?” I become unsure of myself.
And then I’m reminded of Noah. Noah listened to God. Obeyed God. Even when God told him to do something that was so outlandish that everyone around him thought he was crazy, it didn’t matter because Noah heard from God and obeyed him.
Then the rain started pounding, the ark started floating, and the Bible doesn’t record God speaking to Noah again for over 300 days.
Can you relate to that? God spoke to you and you obeyed and 299 days later you are still waiting to hear his voice again.
I wish God spoke to us more frequently. I wish there weren’t long periods of life when God is so silent. However, the fact is God seems to be OK with silence. In our culture, long periods of silence can be uncomfortable or, to some, even disrespectful. Not so with God; He has a greater purpose for His silence.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
As Noah floated around on in his new yacht, he had a lot of time on his hands; a lot of time to develop patience. I can just picture him strolling the promenade deck waiting for God to break the silence. Ok…the Bible doesn’t talk about a promenade deck on the ark, but I’m sure there were many times when Noah stirred around the ark, maybe hanging with the giraffes, thinking and praying. When we take a deep breath, slow down our thoughts and begin to wait on God, we develop patience. Patience (or endurance) is foundational to building character and our confident hope of salvation.
I was about 2 months away from losing my job. The church I was at told me they could no longer afford to pay my salary and I needed to begin looking for a new church. My wife and I had been praying about some specific things that we were hoping for in the next position. As much as we loved the new church we were interviewing with, those specific things were not coming to light. We prayed and prayed, but when the lead pastor of the church invited us to the final phase of the hiring process, I had to say I’m sorry we are withdrawing. This was a very difficult decision because I had no other options and God didn’t seem to have a whole lot to say about it. As I explained my reasons to the pastor, everything began to change. The pastor began saying exactly what we had been praying for. Long story short, the Lord worked out that situation and it became an incredibly significant, life-changing, and rewarding season of our lives.
Tribulation. Silence. Valley seasons of life. They all produce a deeper character and we begin to gain experience in our faith. We become more familiar with the way the Lord deals with us. And we begin to understand what He is asking of us. Sometimes God takes us all the way to the edge because we are gaining experiences in Him.
When you feel like God is silent, don’t worry. God’s not mad at you. He has not abandoned you. He’s not passive-aggressive and He is not giving you the silent treatment. That may be the way humans act, but I promise you, it is not the way the our Heavenly Father acts! God LOVES you. Take a deep breath. It might just be a season where God is building your patience muscles, which develops character, which leads to confident hope of salvation!
(This thought was inspired by a writing in the Jon Courson Application Commentary)
Tags: Hearing God, Hope, Noah, Patience
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Thank you Kevin for your inspiration! Yes! The silence is what I’m experiencing now and truly have battled the thought.. Are you truly good? It’s painful but you are right… He is producing character in me.
Thank you! Scott sent me your article
I am truly good! Don’t get me wrong, silence is never fun. I’m sure Noah was floating around the ark saying, “OK, God, I obeyed…how long will I need to be on this boat?” I have found the character building on the other end is so worth it. It is helpful you learn to submit to the journey God has you on. Just like when you’re raising kids. If they submit your pathway for raising them it’s so much easier (on everyone).