The Blessing of God’s Silenceby Cynthia Jennings on February 23, 2022
Silence can be awkward in certain settings. But as Believers, silence can also be a gift. There are times when God relates to us in silence. A moment of stillness and silence can bring the gentle whispers of God’s voice to speak to the things concerning our hearts.
But what do we do when it feels as if God is silent? How do we not grow weary when we can’t see what He’s doing? How do we move forward when it feels as if He isn’t hearing us or answering our deepest prayers?
As strange as it might sound, even His silence is a sign of God’s personal dimension. He is free to speak, and He is free to withhold His word. His silence is an expression of His personal sovereignty and freedom. We have to admit, when we earnestly seek God but, in return, only sense His silence, it’s hard to endure. This silence can be difficult, frustrating, even excruciating. God’s silence can be more challenging to us than what He says.
As Believers, we’re not always going to hear God’s voice, but from the first 37 chapters of Job we can learn some practical things to do when God seems silent.
1. Examine Your life: Begin by asking yourself, is there any unconfessed sin in my life? Make sure nothing is blocking you from being able to hear God’s voice. Psalm 66:18 requires looking deeply at our lives. Is there anything (or anyone) I love more than God? As God brings things to mind, ask for His forgiveness. And remember, there is no shame in repentance. This act of faith pleases God and restores our fellowship with Him.
2. Accept God’s Authority: Recognize that God can be silent. There is no obligation for God to answer you, inform you or let you know anything. Like us, Job faced the choice of acknowledging or rejecting the authority of God. In response to his suffering and loss, Job’s wife suggested he curse God and die. Instead of following her advice, Job chose to let God be God (Job 2:10). Accepting God’s authority also means actively trusting God, realizing He is in control and can be trusted.
3. Listen to What God is Saying: Although God may seem silent regarding a specific request or petition, remember that He is in a constant state of communication with us (Psalm 119:105). In fact, it is possible that you already have an answer from God. So, dig into God’s Word, His written communication to us to find out what He has to say about the problems you are facing or the questions you are asking.
4. Recognize That Silence Can Be Intimate: Silence can also be a sign of God’s trust in you. The Gospel of John tells a story about Jesus’ friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha. When Jesus found out that Lazarus was ill, rather than rush to Lazarus’ house to heal him, he stayed where he was for two more days (John 11:6). And before Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus died. To Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, Jesus’ silence could have been interpreted as neglect — that Jesus did not care about or want to help them. But in Jesus’ silence we, along with Mary and Martha, are drawn into a new closeness to God and understanding of His power. Four days after he died, Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus, showing His power.
5.Promotes Dependency: When we think our Source (God) is silent, it points us back to His Word. When we realize He is who and what we need above all, it brings us back to our dependency on God to see it all come to pass. David shows us what it looks like to cry out to God (Psalm 102:1-2) and he follows it by showing how God will listen to his plea (Psalm 102:17). As we draw closer to God, He will draw closer to us, (James 4:8). But we have to acknowledge that we are not in control.
6. Exercising our Faith: Once we can admit our dependency on God, it gives us an opportunity to exercise our faith. When we think He’s silent and not working, we have the truth of His Word to remind us that He’s always working. In Hebrews 11 we receive a rundown on God’s resume through the faith of those who believed. Hebrews 11 should serve as a reminder to us how by faith, God is working for our good even when we think He’s silent.
7.Stewarding Our Worship: When we worship, we take the focus off of us and place it on our Father (Luke 4:8). We reverence our Creator, the One who is in control. We hallow His name (Matthew 6:9). Our worship invites a shift in our hearts to remind us of the truth of who our God is. It helps us to minimize our circumstances and maximize our love and dependency on Him.
8. Working it Out for Our Own Good: It can be easy to think we know when the best time is for God to bring something to pass, but He knows what’s best because He sees all the intricate details that He wants to work out ahead of time. We may not always know the reasoning but we can trust that He works all things out for our good (Romans 8:28).
9. Keep Talking to God: Just because God seems silent doesn’t mean you should doubt Him or stop praying. God’s silence isn’t a license for us to turn our backs on Him. Instead, it’s an invitation to press forward and seek Him even more diligently. The psalmists David modeled crying out to God (Psalm 22:2). Job also continually cries out to God, asking Him to answer (Job 38:4).
When it appears that God is silent, remember who He is and how He came through for you before. Remember that He is your Provider, Protector, and Redeemer. Remain confident in knowing He knows and desires what is best for you. Take Him at His word and trust Him through the process.
PEARLStoPONDER: When you are completely comfortable with a person, it’s possible to sit in a room together and not utter a word. In love, silence can be a sign of intimacy. God loves you that much to sit in a room with you and be silent.
Isiah 55:8--For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.