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               Sonya Contreras

When God Is Silent

Remember the Israelites? 
God sent prophet after prophet to warn them of coming judgment.
They ignored His warnings.
God removed His Presence from them.
He didn’t speak to them for 400 years.

When He did, had they repented and sought His pleasure?
When He spoke, He spoke in spite of their response.
Sometimes, God is silent because He’s said all He needs to say.

During those silent years, God prepared the world for His Son.
Through Rome’s control, a relative peace was established. 

Rome built roads, and organized trade, as well as establishing mail systems—providing a means for the Gospel to be spread more effectively. The apostolic letters could be circulated with ease.
Synagogues were established across the Roman Empire, providing the starting base for Christian congregations.
All happened while God was silent.
God may have be silent, but He is not inactive.

The Psalmist often told God, “Oh my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest” (Psalm 22:2).
Often in distress or great need, when we finally acknowledge God, we view His silence as a lack of care.
Aren’t we commanded to take all our cares to Him?
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (I Peter 5:7).
Jesus instructed His disciples to take their needs, desires and concerns to the Father. (John 16:23-26). 
“Whatever you ask in My name that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13-14.

So what causes the silence of God?
Moses prayed to cross the Red Sea, (Exodus 14-15), Elijah requested acceptance of  his sacrifice on Mount Carmel (I Kings 18:30-39). 
God responded immediately, with power and authority.
But often, God’s responses are encased in principles found in His Word that must be mined and studied out (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 
It requires study and listening.
God commends “those who by reason of use have their sense exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).
We must search it out.
God may be answering through His Word.

Job after his unanswered request for his suffering was told by his wife to curse God and die.
He responded, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2:10).
Through his suffering, Job learned of God’s authority. “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” (Job 13:15).
A.W. Tozer said, “God is able to do as He pleases always, everywhere, forever.” 
God teaches His authority through His silence.

The entire book of Job, God is silent until chapter 38.
God is in control all along. 
He heard Job.
Job had to wait.

God’s silence may be a delay in the answer to produce growth: “the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
Waiting for God’s response develops patience, faith, contentment, empathy and righteousness.
Too often in today’s impatient Christian world, when we don’t receive an answer, instead of waiting, we do what we want to do. 
We don’t learn patience. 
We don’t grow in faith.
We certainly don’t become content, because we are ready for the next blessing before we have thanked Him for what He has already done. We don’t even realize we’ve moved on without God.

Sometimes God is silent because it’s not the right time.
His answer is not “no”, but “wait.”
Jesus illustrated this with the persistent widow in Luke 18:2-8.
God wants to hear from us.
But He wants our requests to be resolute and firm—not changing daily over a whim.

Elijah, the same prophet who called down fire from heaven and instantly God answered (I Kings 18:30-39), also had his requests meet with silence.
He persisted—asking God seven times for an answer.
God rewarded in HIS time. (I Kings 18:41-45).

Sometimes Christians must simply trust and move forward in faith.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”(Isaiah 55:8-9).

Those who move in faith through His silence are commended.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth…Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect (Hebrews 11:13-16, 39-40).

Silence may be a sign of God’s trust in you.
Remember Lazarus?
He was ill. Mary and Martha sent for Jesus .
Jesus waited two days (John 11:6).
Lazarus died.
Martha and Mary felt Jesus’s delay was neglect and uncaring.
But Jesus instructs that it’s meant to draw them closer to Him.

Oswald Chambers says in My Utmost for His Highest, “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.”

Ever be so comfortable with a person that no words are necessary?
That’s the silence of intimacy.
God chose Job to receive His Silence because He trusted him.
He may have also chosen you.

Are you experiencing God’s silence?
It’s not a reason to turn your back on Him.
Rather press forward and seek Him more diligently.
Even in His silence.
Hold on to Him. 
You will not be disappointed.


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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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