When God Is Silent …

Sometimes God seems silent and distant. Let’s just admit it. We cry out for his help, for answers, for him to come through for us, and … nothing. Or so it seems. This can feel defeating, disheartening, lonely. But there are answers.

I take some solace in the fact that people in Bible times also went though times of silence from God. In Psalm 28:1, King David said,

O Lord, you are my rock of safety. Please help me; don’t refuse to answer me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die.

So far in David’s trouble, God had seemed silent. But “God’s delays are not God’s denials.” David still believed in God as his solid rock even though it seemed God was not answering his pleas for help. David must have had to go back to what he had said in Psalm 27:14; he needed to be patient and continue to wait on the Lord, trusting him even in his silence.

Trust God even in his silence. That may mean a transformation of your heart. That may take an attitude adjustment. Look at David’s heart in Psalm 28:7:

The Lord is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Through the various troubles and painful circumstances of his life, David chose to be joyful. His heart was filled with joy, not with bitterness, anger, resentment, or anything else. A heart of joy naturally bursts out in songs of thanksgiving!

You and I have a choice as we go through troubles, painful circumstances, and even God’s apparent silence. It all starts with trust. If you trust God and wait patiently on him, he will answer you. You can have joy in him and believe in him as your strength and your shield even when you are not hearing from him at this time. Trust that he is working behind the scenes in your life. Trust that he is working for your good. Trust that the pain has a purpose in your life. Trust that you are clay and he is shaping you.

One more thing. I believe that sometimes God is speaking, but we are simply not hearing him. Hearing from God takes attentiveness on your part. That means spending time with him each day.

God speaks through his Word. Don’t say god is silent if you are not in his Word!

God speaks through other people. Don’t say God is  silent if you are not meeting with other Christians on a regular basis.

God speaks through inspired authors. Don’t say God is silent if you are not reading.

God speaks through the circumstances of your life. Don’t say God is silent if you’re sitting on the couch watching TV.

What do you think about this? Have you gone through times of God’s silence? What happened? What have you learned?
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Michael C. Mack founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and served as a small-groups minister for more than 20 years in several churches. He is a writer, editor, trainer, and consultant in the areas of small groups, leadership, and discipleship. He is the author of more than 25 books and small group studies, including his latest, World's Greatest Small Group (pub. January, 2017). He regularly blogs on his ministry website at SmallGroupLeadership.com. His family is a small group that includes his wife Heidi, their four children, and their dog, Lainey. Mike is also an avid mountain biker.