Published September 29, 2015

Paul's Epistle
"When God Seems Silent" - Part 3

Why does God sometimes seem silent when we ask Him for help? Why don't answers seem to come? We've been considering the question for the past two weeks (Part 1, Part 2). Now let's conclude with some reasons you should consider when asking such questions.

If you are a parent, do you remember when your children were small and you sometimes would give them a choice of "A" or "B?" You knew what the choice should be, but you wanted to see what they'd say. If you remember that, do you recall how pleased you were when they make the correct decision? Do you remember the joy when their decision reflected what you had taught them?

God is like that. He wants you to choose – so He remains silent. He's trained you. He's equipped you. So He says, "you choose!" Then making the right choice pleases God.

Now, that analogy – that comparison with a human parent – isn't perfect, of course. Unlike a human parent, God already knows what you'll decide. The fact that He's allowing you to decide is a good sign – and He would intervene if you chose a harmful path. Because we know that "...all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose..." (Romans 8:28).

But here's where it gets really complicated. Your first decision might not, ultimately, be the right one! God might have preferred another option.

So why did He allow it? Perhaps there is some lesson you needed to learn through this. Oswald Chambers once wrote, "If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all. They are meant to make you useful in His hands."

Perhaps God simply wants you to trust Him more. Perhaps making the wrong decision first might make the right decision later much more clear.

In short, God trusts you with His silence. That seems odd at first blush. But it's really a good sign. If you are in a right relationship with God – sins confessed, striving to live daily in His will – it means God is willing to let you decide.

God's silence can be evidence of a growing relationship with Him. When you're first getting to know someone, it seems there must always be conversation going on. Silences – gaps in conversation – are awkward. But as the relationship grows, that's no longer so much the case. Long gaps in conversation ... aren't awkward at all. So much is communicated nonverbally – merely "understood." And those gaps in conversation can sometimes speak louder than words.

Consider:  God's silence could bring you into a much more wonderful understanding of Himself – because you are forced to think about this. That was certainly true for Job. God's silence could usher in a much deeper revelation of His will for your life.

Charles Brent, a 19th century British preacher, put it this way: "God is never silent except when silence speaks more clearly than a voice." You know, you're never more hungry than when you have no food. You're never more thirsty than when you have no water. When you finally hear from God – after a period of silence – it'll be so much more refreshing.

Oswald Chambers, in his well-known book "My Utmost For His Highest," says this: "When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible – with absolute silence; not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation."

Know this – whatever God allows in your life is ultimately for your good. And what might seem to us as His silence ... doesn't change that!

The song "Pray Now" by Karen Peck & New River includes these lines:

      Oh, the silence doesn't mean that He's not listening
      And the darkness doesn't mean that He is gone.
      ‘Cause He's promised He would never ever leave us
      And you've never spent one moment on your own...

So, what do you do when God seems silent?  Realize that God is never truly silent at all. He speaks to us in many different ways – and we are to pay attention ... and listen. Trust Him!  Watch how He works things out for the best – perhaps not on your schedule, but definitely on His.

Keep praying. Keep reading the Bible. Keep listening... And, strange as it might seem, thank the Lord. Thank Him for being with you always. Thank Him for His deep and abiding love. And thank Him for thinking so highly of you ... that all you really need right now ... is His silence.

- Paul

Note: You can listen to the sermon from which this series was excerpted online at this address:

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