Have you ever felt like your prayers are hitting the ceiling and bouncing right back down again? I know that it is difficult when we receive a “no” answer from God, but honestly I think it is harder when we just hear nothing at all. Silence … crickets … waiting and waiting and waiting. What should we do when God is silent?
I remember when I was a teenager, wishing that I would receive a postcard from God telling me what to do with my future. The possibilities were endless which was quite daunting. How was I to know which path I was supposed to follow? Needless to say, I never got my postcard.
Many years later, Bret took a new job which required a move across the country. It seemed like an answer to prayer because the previous company was filing for bankruptcy and Bret’s job was probably going to be eliminated. The problem was that our house didn’t sell. We were living in a rental house in the new place and still paying the mortgage on our previous house. I literally felt that my prayers weren’t getting through the ceiling. Why wasn’t our house selling? Where was my postcard from God? It just didn’t make sense and we weren’t getting any directions from God. Nine months later, Bret discovered that the new company was being sold. He had been brought in to clean up the department and his job was going to be eliminated. Thankfully, he found another job soon at just the same time that our house sold – and we were able to move to the new location, buy a new home and start over quickly. In retrospect, the timing was perfect. But it sure didn’t feel like it at the time!
So, how do we keep going in those silent times?
I heard a podcast with Rev. Barry Black, the chaplain of the US Senate, recently. He shared some valuable tips that I would like to share with you. When God is silent, we need to remember three things.
First, Pray with Purity. When God is silent, we need to make sure that sin isn’t blocking our communication with God. Isaiah 59:1-2 says, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” The first step should always be to examine our hearts and make sure that we are right before a holy God.
Second, Keep Praying. When God is silent, it is easy to stop praying. Is it doing any good after all? Sometimes we feel so much hurt or anger that we don’t feel right expressing that to God. Psalm 139 tells us that God knows our hearts and our innermost thoughts. He already knows the depth of our pain, so why do we try to hid it from Him? God is big enough to handle our emotions. Prayer is about maintaining a relationship with God so keep sharing with Him, even when it hurts. The reality that we often forget is that, even when God is silent, He is still listening. Click To Tweet
Third, After God does speak, you can use your experience to help others! Sometimes, we don’t get the answer that we want – but God always gives us the answer that we need. God allows trials and hard things into our lives to help us grow and to develop our faith so that we can be used in greater ways for Him. God doesn’t want to waste our trials. They are always for a reason. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
The times when God is silent can be rough. When we read the story of Job it is striking to notice that his biggest complaint isn’t about all the trials that he has endured, it is that he feels that God is silent (Job 30:20) Many people walk away from God during these times. Let me urge you to hold on to your faith, even in the hardest times. God will eventually speak to you again. The silence will not last forever. God is good – all the time.
If you need help, prayer or encouragement, please get help from your local church or counselors. I would also count it a privilege to pray for you or help you in any way that I can. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.