As a single mom of three teenagers, the thought of a few moments of silence is only a dream. Cries of, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” “Mom, can we leave yet?” “Mom, can my friend come over?” “Mom, where are you?” seem to permeate every moment of every day.
What I would do to have just a few minutes of silence…
But when the silence is from God?
It is deafening. Painful. Overwhelming. I cry out for Him, to hear His voice, to experience His presence. I struggle and strive against the silence, craving His sweet whispers to get me through my day. I can’t understand why I can’t hear His voice in the midst of this journey, a journey that has taken so many twists and turns that just when I think I am going to make it, there’s another slap in the face.
Yes, that’s the story of my life right now.
This journey started over eight years ago with God calling me to step out of my comfort zone, telling me He was with me and wanted to build a great faith in me. That moment has given me strength and confidence to move forward, to constantly strive to hold his outstretched hand.
And He has been so faithful. Through divorce and death and sickness and poverty. Through loss and infidelity and rebellion. He has been my constant.
I have experienced the incredible high of hearing my Savior’s sweet whispers day by day, leading me into a deeper faith. I’ve seen him take my pain, my misery, and create a ministry greater than anything I could ever imagine. I’ve had such an amazing, intimate experience with my Savior.
Until He went silent.
O God, do not be silent! Do not be deaf. Do not be quiet, O God. Psalm 83:1
I can’t even start to explain God’s ways. I do not grasp why He chooses to act in certain ways. I do not understand why sometimes we have to experience His silence.
What I do know is that even in the silence we must learn to trust Him. We must trust that He is still at work, somewhere preparing our future. We must trust that even when we can’t sense His presence, He still has not left us nor forsaken us.
Sometimes God is silent because there is sin in our lives. Throughout scripture, we see that our sin separates us from God, from His holiness. We know that our prayers can be hindered, that we can limit the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And that is why we must strive to live lives of holiness, why we must regularly confess our sins and repent. We do not want God to be silent because we are clinging to sin in our lives.
But, I also believe sometimes we experience the silence of God to test us, to see if we will continue to walk forward in faith when it seems that our prayers are falling on deaf ears. Is our faith strong enough to sustain us in the silence? Can we cling to the God we met in the times of intimacy? Will we trust Him even when He is silent?
That’s where I have found myself for the last two years. Living on the faith that was built in the days of His intimacy. Struggling to move forward even when I felt abandoned. Reaching to grasp His hand even when it seemed to be a moving target. Crying out to Him, begging to hear His voice.
And yet, through this silence, I have found an even greater depth to my faith. I’ve continued to move forward, following the last command He gave me. I’ve seen Him provide little nuggets, just enough for me to know what to do next. It’s been a day by day provision of manna.
The silence has been painful.
But, this weekend I began to get a glimpse of the amazing work God has been doing during this period of silence. It was as if a veil was rolled back, and I suddenly began to see clearly. I am beginning to grasp the most amazing vision of what God has been doing in the silence.
And it is good. Very good.
For two years, He has been silent. For two years. He has been working to answer my prayers. For two years, He has been preparing my future. For two years, He has been behind the scenes working circumstances for my good and His glory.
That’s my encouragement to you. I believe I am on the edge of the end of the silence. I believe I am about to break through and see the work God has been doing in the silence. I believe I am about to experience an outpouring of His goodness and grace. I believe I am embarking on a new journey of intimacy with the Father.
But I had to walk through the silence to get there.
Maybe that’s where you are. Maybe you are crying out to God, struggling to understand why He seems silent. Maybe you are wondering what sin is keeping Him from you.
Perhaps this is just a holy pause in your life, one designed to see if you will continue to trust Him and obey Him even when it seems He has abandoned you. Maybe it is actually an opportunity to experience an increased faith in Him. Maybe it is simply a time where He is working silently in the background to prepare the future He has for you.
He will eventually roll away the veil and open your eyes. You will experience His goodness and His grace in abundant measure. Just keep reaching for that outstretched hand.