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Enduring When God Is Silent

Updated: Sep 16, 2022



“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Ps 13:1


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This post is an expansion on a question I received on my recent Instagram Q & A.


What do you do when God is silent? When your prayers feel unanswered? Is God being cruel? Is it because you’re dull and unable to hear? Is it because your great uncle attended that one free mason temple gathering in the 1920’s and you haven’t broken of the curse yet? :)


For the last five months I have found myself in a season of life that has been sweet in several ways, but in other ways painful and challenging. I unexpectedly lost my job. Had to relocate my family for the second time in two years completely across the country. While moving in with family and being surrounded by friends, and community who love us has been a true revelation of Christian community, my need to hear God has never felt more desperate. So many hours of prayer saying phrases like:

“God why did this happen? What do we do next? How do I support my family? Do I leave ministry and get a regular job? Are you done with me?”

So many hours of laying in silence on my bed with tears streaming down my face, just waiting for something, anything. It wasn’t that God didn’t feel present or near. It was simply that He wasn’t saying anything. Wasn’t giving any direction, ideas, impressions, nothing. It felt like He just sat down at the edge of my bed, put his hand on my back and said nothing.


As the months have passed, I have learned a couple of things.


First, when God is silent, turn to gratitude. I wish I had a clear answer for why God was so silent for so long. I don’t know why God is isn’t speaking to you right now. But I know this, you can trust Him. Remembering what God has done with a thankful heart stirs our hearts to remain calm and trust that He’ll come through. Time and time again in my life God has come through. Time and time again He’s blessed me far beyond anything I ever expected or deserved. I made a list of every blessing, every moment of breakthrough, every time He has answered me, and I thanked Him again. I sat with tear blurred vision and looked at the multiple page list and said out loud, “God has been faithful, He will be again.” I have found that the key to having an unshakeable faith is to have a heart filled with consistent gratitude.


Second, when God is silent about the next thing, focus on the things He hasn’t been silent about. God gave us His word, we call it the Bible, He has already said enough sufficient for a thousand lifetimes in there. In leu of God saying nothing in this season of transition, I went the scriptures. I don’t need God to speak to remember that He’s called me to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I don’t need Him to speak to know He’s called me to love people and share the good news of His existence and delight in them. I don’t need God to speak to love my family, and serve them in the different seasons they are in. To work to save and find creative ways to provide for them. Not to mention, the breadth of the things God has spoken to me in the past. When God is silent, I find it’s because He’s asking me to listen to the things he’s already said.


Finally, when God is silent, read the Psalms. My affinity of David has never been greater than during this season. The Psalms give our hearts permission to be honest and vulnerable in prayer. Too often we think mature prayer is articulate. That Spiritual maturity is praying prayers free of our honest feelings. Yet if the Psalms teach us anything, they teach us that prayer is the primary place to express our raw vulnerable thoughts. It’s the place where we open our hearts to be able to receive what we are asking God for.


In the Psalms David prays, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” I pause, I pray, “God I’m with David, how long? Where are you? Why are things this way?” I pray with David through each line until I get to the end. “I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.” I pause, I pray, “God, I’m with David here too. You have been so good to me; I trust you in the silence.”


God is infinite, He is holy, He is so much wiser, so much kinder than we could ever know. I don’t know why is silent during hard seasons. I don’t why He doesn’t come through the way I think He should. I simply know that one of the facets of prayer is me laying everything at His feet and saying, “I trust you, I’m in.”.


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