When God is Silent
All of us at different times have experienced the silence of God. The frustration over God’s silence is usually compounded by our need in the moment. We feel overcome with wanting to hear His voice and hurt that God isn’t speaking. I want to suggest that God is not reluctant to speak to you; His silence may just be caused by other factors.
Isaiah Experienced God’s Silence
When Isaiah had his heavenly experience, He desperately wanted to hear from God because of the recent death of the long-standing king, Uzziah. Isaiah is taken to heaven and He heard the voice of the Lord saying, “whom shall I send?” Isaiah needed a word, and God was speaking (Isaiah 6:1-8).
Actually when Isaiah first got there, he didn’t hear anything. The passage tells us he was too aware of his sin. “Woe is me. I am a man of unclean lips.” God had to send an angel with a burning coal to touch his lips. This act allowed Isaiah to feel forgiven, and then without focusing on his guilt, Isaiah could hear the voice of the Lord saying. God was always speaking, but at times we are distracted with other things to hear His voice.
2 Hindrances to Hearing God’s Voice
Let’s take comfort that God is not slow to speak. He has things He wants to communicate with us. Our problems are usually one of two things. Either 1. we think He doesn’t want to speak to us, or 2. we think He will say something different than what He wants to say.
Isaiah gets to heaven, sees the magnificence of everything around Him, and quickly becomes aware of His smallness in comparison. He knows God is holy, and knows that He is not. He reasons that a holy God cannot communicate with a sinful man, and His ears cannot hear what God is saying.
Proverbs tell us that in all our ways to acknowledge God (Proverbs 3:5-6). That means be aware of God in everything. Often we let our circumstances and experiences define God’s interpretation. When your finances runs low, does that mean God isn’t going to provide? When you get an unusual sickness, did you do something wrong? When people who said that they would help suddenly change their minds, does that mean more work for you? When the police denies your residence visa request, do you now have to leave the country?
If God didn’t withhold His very Son, but gave Him up for us, how will He not also graciously give us all things (Romans 8:31-32)? What are we going to believe to be true? Each of these things actually recently happened to me (see more). We need reminders that God is still in control. He wants to give us His perspective. But, if we have preconceived ideas of what He will do, it will hinder our ability to hear God speak. So, how do we overcome God’s reluctance to speak?
2 Ways to Overcome God’s Silence
1. Confess all fear and wrong thinking.
The first thing we need to do is to do inventory on our views of God and ourself. Wrong thinking will greatly block God’s voice in your life. Do you think He is mad at you? Do you think He is punishing you with silence because of bad behavior? That is not how a loving father would act, and it is not how God treats His children.
It may be true you have sin in your life. However the verse of cherishing sin in your heart is knowingly revolting from God because of your love of the sin (Psalm 66:18). I’m assuming by the fact you are reading this, that you desire to be close to God. If you are being convicted of a sin, just confess it, do your best to stop, and trust God in His forgiveness. If you’re not being convicted, don’t let guilt of the unknown pull you from God.
2. Pray with someone else.
Our emotional connection with the situation often hinders our ability to hear. Praying with someone else allows you to enter the power of numbers, to process what is going on, and to expose potential wrong thinking. This is more than having someone to pray for you; actually call a friend over and pray with them. God loves it when His children get together, especially when we gather with the purpose of meeting with Him (Matthew 18:20).
When we experience God’s silence, we need to allow other people to encourage us. In God’s silence we often think through the worst possible scenarios. Other believers can redirect our thoughts on what God is actually saying, or at the very least, on what He actually is like. We are created to need other people, let us not forsake meeting together (Hebrews 10:24-25).
When David was being chased by King Saul, Jonathan went to find him in order for David to find strength in God (1 Samuel 23:16). We need friends who will come alongside us as well. More than likely you have people who are willing to do this for you, if you just give them a call.
We have a God that loves to speak. He sent His Son to die that we may have relationship with us. Pray through these two ways to overcome God’s silence and may you be released into a greater awareness of His voice.