When God is Silent

“We are focused on the right individual perspective of things; we have the vision and can say, “I know this is what God wants me to do.” But we have not yet learned to get into God’s stride. If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time of great personal growth ahead.”

Oswald Chanbers, My Utmost for His Highest

If you’ve ever experienced a time of struggle, discouragement, or just plain confusion over the events happening in your life, you begin to understand what Chambers is saying. When God doesn’t provide immediate answers, we can sometimes grow discouraged. I find myself there right now, with two situations that have developed recently. I want guidance and I need wisdom which I lack when attempting to formulate a plan of action for either of them. But I take courage and comfort in knowing God will supply them when His time is right.

It seems as though the most turbulent times in our lives are when God chooses to go silent. I suspect it’s partly due to our failure to listen because our worry and anxiety drown out God’s message. But I would also suggest it’s a matter of our inability or failure to understand God’s primary motive, which is to grow us into spiritual maturity and bring us into oneness with Him.

In the devotional from which the above quote is drawn, Chambers speaks of the example of Moses. While Moses was still living in the palace, he saw an Egyptian beating one of the Israelites, and intervened, killing the man. Being aware of his own heritage, Moses determined that he was the one to deliver the Israelites from their slavery. The result was Moses ended up in the wilderness to tend sheep for forty years.

Moses’ problem was not that he wasn’t the one to deliver his people; he wasn’t ready. God had to discipline and train him. He had to be introduced to God-I AM THAT I AM-and be disabused of the notion that he could accomplish it by his own strength and will. God uses His times of silence to discourage us from those kinds of ideas and to bring us to Himself. He then returns to again call us to the task. As a result of the putting to death of the confidence in our own strength we reply, “Who am I that I should go?” Our desire to do the task is correct, but we need to understand that it will be done in God’s strength according to His timing. We are merely the instrument He uses.

In another place, Chambers 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.” God wants to grow us into perfect relationship with Him, so that our will is in perfect harmony with His and our obedience is given unquestioningly and lovingly. Because He loves us, there are times when He chooses not to answer our prayers in the moment, knowing He has something much better in store for us. The Christian who seeks to grow closer to God need never fear His silence.

If you find yourself in a time when God seems to have gone silent, let me encourage you to learn the value of waiting patiently and trusting Him. Continue to praise and thank Him for His marvelous grace and blessings and trust His silence. There may be something big coming your way.

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