When God Is Silent

Growing up in a very traditional Pentecostal church, one of my favorite parts of our worship service was testimony time. This was the time when anyone and everyone was given the opportunity to speak and share with the congregation what God had done for them.  Some would stand out of peer pressure or obligation and repeat memorized lines – I was usually one of those.  Some saw this as an opportunity to preach a little and seemed to enjoy the momentary spotlight.  But the ones that truly moved me were those who reported accounts of recently answered prayer.  These testimonies of God’s intervention lifted everyone’s faith and brought great encouragement.

So many songs we sang in my church were about God always hearing and answering prayer. The sermons I heard and the lessons I was taught told me God was involved in my life and He orchestrated all my affairs. I remember hearing people talk about God leading them and speaking to them.  I came to believe in a very personal God who was active in my life.

These foundational truths taught to me as a child remain a bedrock in my life today.  I have many personal examples of God moving and His voice directing me through some rough and rocky terrain.  But, as Paul Harvey would say, I need to relay the rest of the story – it hasn’t always happened for me just like the songs and sermons seemed to say.  There have been times in my life I have cried out to God but… He was silent.

Sometimes God is silent – wow!  How in the world can this be true?  We know He is the loving Father who watches over us and is concerned about everything that concerns us.  We know His presence is constant and nothing can separate us from His love.  We know He feels our pain and is moved by our afflictions.  But sometimes when we pray, He is silent.

This is a hard fact for many in the modern church to grasp – especially the modern American church.  We have heard over and over we can have whatever we confess. A picture of God has been painted that resembles a mythical genie in a bottle more that the eternal Father who sits high and lifted up on His throne. Many have come to accept a false order that seems to think God serves us instead of us serving Him.  No wonder we are frustrated and confused when answers to prayer do not come.

This would probably be a good time for all of us to stop for a moment and reconsider roles – He is the creator; we are the created.  We should probably also consider perspective – we see with very limited vision; He sees the big picture.  We should probably not forget time and space – we think in terms of now; He operates with eternity in mind.  Quite simply – He is God; we are not. He is perfect in all His ways – even when He does not speak to our requests.

So what should our response be to those times when He is silent?

1. Cling to what we know.  Some things are true no matter what.  Circumstances cannot change them and time only makes them more real.  These are facts that will not change – God is good; God loves us, and God is with us.  In the most difficult of situations, grabbing hold of what we know and refusing to let go will be the basis of our sustained victory.  There is nothing the devil can do to overcome us if we doggedly cling to what we know.

2.  Practice His presence.  The people with whom you are most comfortable are those with whom you can spend the most time without talking.  You are close enough to them you can actually enjoy simply being in their company.  There will never be many of these people in your life but when you have one, they are special indeed.

A true mark of spiritual maturity is learning to enjoy the Lord – not just being happy for what He does for us but savoring every moment in His presence.  Joy and peace abound when we begin to hunger more for Him than we do His blessings. Being fulfilled by His presence should be the goal of every child of God.

3.  Expect the benefits of waiting.  Most people do not like to wait.  Our culture is one that moves fast and wants what it wants now. A friend of mine told me one time he looked for the express lane at the car wash!  Patience is not a valued virtue today.

But, here is a fact worth remembering – God is not moved by culture.  He places tremendous value on waiting. As a matter of fact, He does His best work in us between the asking and receiving.  It is in that in between time he molds and perfects us.  Business really picks up in our life when we start looking for the benefits of waiting on the Lord.

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)

4.  Know He has a plan.  God is many wonderful things in my life but the one thing in which I may be the most grateful is the fact He is my Father.  He really loves me as His child and as a good Father, He wants what is best for me.  He has a plan for my life and everything He does for me has that plan clearly in mind – even when I do not see it or understand it.  I am comforted by this knowledge.  I know I can trust His plan.

So, sometimes God is silent.  That doesn’t mean He did not hear.  It certainly doesn’t mean He doesn’t care.  The truth is He always hears and He cares more than we can comprehend.  Those sermons and songs I heard as a child about Him always answering prayer were not an exaggeration at all – He does always answer.  He just answers when it is time, in the way that is best and in a manner for His glory. 

My friend, do not be discouraged by God’s silence.  Let this experience work for your good.  It is going to make you better.  It is going to make you stronger.  His silence is a sure sign He is at work on your behalf.  The silence of the Lamb of God will soon be replaced by the roar of the Lion of Judah.  Get ready!  He may be silent today but He will not be silent forever.

9 thoughts on “When God Is Silent

  1. Choice Greetings Dr. Les! What a joy to read your blogs and to recap memories from the heritage of our church! Those time of testimonies and singing songs was the highlight of a Sunday Night Service. When God Is Silent, we should spend that time in worship and praising God anticipating a great response!  It’s not easy during God’s time of silent, but it is overwhelming when re dose respond.  I am encouraged when God is Silent! Blessings my friend and thanks again for your prayerful support and vote of confidence during GA22!

    Bishop Kenneth L. Hill, D. D., Administrative Bishop Church of God Southern New England           “Unlimited Possibilities”  he 

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  2. Thanks Bishop Les…a very timely word. Though we know and have learned these principles, it is great to have our minds stirred up by way of remembrance. God bless!

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  3. Brother Higgins;
    I am blessed each time I read “God is Not Silent.” People must hear this timely message! I intend to share.

    Brother Cannon

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