When I hit bottom, I didn’t scream. I sobbed — paralyzed by indecision over what I thought should be a simple choice. I changed course several times in only half a minute, my conscience rebuking me no matter what I did. There were so many voices, so many opinions, so many people whose judgment I feared. When I asked God what I should do, there was only silence.
I wanted to obey. I asked God for His direction, and He said nothing.
Maybe you find yourself in a sea of voices, human opinions tossing you like waves. You long for Christ’s calming, “Peace, be still.” Or maybe His invitation to “Come” walk on the water with Him. Anything. If only He would speak and tell you the next step!
But He doesn’t.
I drove home, finally ending my double-mindedness. I couldn’t believe I was leaving church on Sunday morning to deal with a problem for my secular job. I felt like I was abandoning God just when I needed Him most. On the other hand, if I had abandoned my co-workers to face this problem alone, I felt I would be tarnishing God’s reputation with them. Only God knew the right step, and He wouldn’t tell me.
Or maybe I just couldn’t hear Him.
John 10:27 repeated itself in my mind.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”
“But God, Why can’t I hear your voice? Please, let me hear your voice!”
When I arrived home, I learned my only work was to monitor the situation and let the computers do their thing. The live internet audio stream of the morning service was a welcome companion during this hurry-up-and-wait. Every song was selected just for me, reminding me of God’s strength, His presence, His comfort in trials.
At the right time, God finally spoke. He spoke through the words He had already given thousands of years earlier. The sermon from Psalm 91 concentrated on knowing God during trials, and it was just the message from God that I needed.
Why Is God Silent?
When you’re in that storm of God’s silence, it’s often tempting to ask why. There may be a variety of reasons to consider. Job’s “miserable comforters” assumed that his pain was a result of his sin, but I don’t want to make any kind of assumption like that. Still, it’s something we shouldn’t rule out. So let’s ask a few questions…
Are You His Sheep?
Christ’s promise was that His sheep hear his voice. If you haven’t accepted His gift of salvation from sin, then there is no promise that you’ll hear His voice. If that’s where you are, then accept Him as Savior before you do anything else.
If you are certain that you are His sheep, then let’s look at some other reasons He may be silent.
Do You Have A Broken Human Relationship?
1 Peter 3:7 speaks specifically of the relationship between a husband and wife. If that relationship is not right, your prayers may be hindered.
Are You Following The Direction He Has Already Given?
It’s so easy to take one “little” instruction from God and ignore it, harboring a small idol or a tiny seed of rebellion over what seems nearly insignificant. It’s a battle I face regularly — to follow God “almost” completely, except for that one thing that feels too hard. As long as there is some instruction we’re not willing to follow, we can’t expect Him to give us new direction. (See Psalm 66:18)
Do You Need Time To Be Changed?
Consider Elijah in the wilderness after fleeing from Jezebel. He was exhausted, and He needed to hear God’s “still, small voice.” But that voice didn’t come during the earthquake and the fire. It didn’t matter how hard Elijah listened, he was not going to hear God until God was ready to speak.
God spoke only after He had prepared Elijah.
Are You Involved In Spiritual Warfare?
Daniel mourned and pleaded with God for three full weeks, seeking His direction. Here he prayed, feeling snubbed by the very God he had served so faithfully.
His answer finally came, along with a startling revelation. Daniel was involved in a much larger battle. Spiritual forces conspired to interrupt his answer for a full twenty-one days! I’ll admit I don’t understand how an infinite God, who exists outside of time, chooses to let a spiritual battle impact His timing, but He does.
Maybe, just maybe, the torture of God’s delayed answer is an indication that your path is far more significant than you could ever believe.
What Do I Do While I Wait?
Maybe you’ll never know why God’s answer is taking so long. Even if you do, the waiting isn’t any easier. So what can you do while you’re waiting for God to respond? There’s no need for a complicated checklist. I’ll offer you only two very simple suggestions.
- Keep going. Silence from God is not a new direction. Don’t question His guidance just because you haven’t heard it reaffirmed lately. Remember the most recent direction He gave? Keep doing that. When it’s time to change course, He will speak.
- Keep trusting. Psalm 46:10 says to “Be still, and know that I am God.” There’s no command here to listen harder, no command to pray harder. The command is simply to know. Know that He is God – even when you can’t hear Him.
Are you in the middle of a silent storm? Are you seeking God’s direction for the next step in your life? Leave a note in the comments and let me know how I can pray for you.