“Keep up your courage, Paul! You have successfully told your story about Me in Jerusalem, and soon you will do the same in Rome.” – Acts 23:11
Have you ever felt God wasn’t speaking to you anymore? I’ve had people ask me what they should do when God feels silent and far away. I say don’t live by your feelings. Psalm 139:7 finds David asking, “Can I go anywhere apart from Your Spirit? Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?” Then David goes on to answer his own question. “If I go up into heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there. If I ride on the wings of morning, if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean, even then You will be there to guide me; Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there” (vs. 8-10 The Voice).
Consider the many times you sat in the presence of your parents, not saying anything, just being. Maybe you were fishing, or watching a movie, or playing a game. No conversation was needed because you weren’t there to converse – you were there to be. Sometimes God seems silent because no words are necessary.
Furthermore, God is in the silence because, in reality, God is never silent. He has told us what we are to do and He expects us to do it. Too many times we badger God with more questions because we didn’t like what He’s already said. Then when He remains silent we think He’s abandoned us. He hasn’t left us—He’s just waiting for us to do what He’s already told us to do.
If you tell your child they must pick up their room before they can do anything else, you expect them to pick up their room before they can do anything else. But of course, children would rather do most anything else than pick up their room. Now, what if this beautiful child of yours, who obviously got their disobedience and ability to wiggle out of things from their other parent says, “I know you want the car washed. Can I wash the car?” If you’re a good parent you’d say (say it with me), “After you pick up your room.” If the child then says, “How about I watch cartoons for half an hour and THEN I pick up my room?” you might greet this suggestion with a stare and (say it with me) SILENCE! How many of you have worked hard to perfect the silent stare? You know you have because you learned it from your own parents. Now, why would you become silent? Because your children have already been told what to do.
You are silent but that doesn’t mean your child is alone. They are not lacking your word, your presence, your care or your love. They have what they need to obey you. They just need to get on with the job. God is silent because we don’t need any more information. He’s not mad. He’s not trying to teaching you something spiritual. He’s not trying to increase your faith and make you an example to other Christians. Sometimes there is nothing wrong and nothing more needs to be said.
Or you could look at it this way— God’s silence is an indication that He trusts you to do exactly what He has said. Have you ever had someone ask you to do something, and then they stand over you and tell you how to do it? And they don’t just do this the first time you do it; they stand over you every time. At some point you want to say, “Here, you do it.” And they’ll say, “No, no. It’s your project. You do it.” But you know it’s not really your project and they don’t really trust you or they’d go away and let you get on with it. In the same way, I believe there are times when God is silent because He’s given us our instructions and then said, “Now, get on with it. I’m here watching. I’m not going anywhere. I trust you to fulfill my word.”
I think most of us need to hear just that. God trusts us and we just need to get on with it. So, what is stopping you?