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The Silence May Be Golden

Believers often struggle with not hearing God’s voice in their lives. In some recent reading, several reasons were put forth about why someone doesn’t hear the God speaking to them that I found myself thinking about:

Disobedience: I think this is the one most people turn to first as a reason for God’s silence. If someone isn’t hearing God, there must be disobedience in their life. Sin. Defiance. This could well be, why would God speak to someone who is not in obedience to His will? A good question, but remember two things -1) we all struggle with our sin nature and will until the day the Lord calls us home and 2) God is loving, compassionate, merciful and gracious. Given that we all sin, it might be a long time before someone is at a point that there is no disobedience to God. Couple that with God’s attributes as mentioned above, and I don’t think that some level of disobedience or sin is always the reason someone doesn’t hear God speaking to them. If God only spoke to the sinless, the only person who would have heard Him speak was Jesus. That doesn’t sound right. Some would have you go through a sort of sin checklist to see if your sin is keeping God silent in your life. We are all sinners, and there is sin in our lives just about all the time. If sin is sin, and a holy God will not have it in His presence, I am not sure what good a checklist will do. How do you decide if a sin is a silencing inducing sin? I would prefer that we seek out the Lord and try to confess the sins in our life, looking to struggle with our nature and try to cut the sin in our lives. I will hold the checklists for NASA to use on spaceflights. Don’t get me wrong, silence from God may be indicative of a sinful, disobedience life that God has chosen not to speak into as a means for drawing one of His children back to Him. But we need remember that every sin does not mean silence.

Preparation: Silence from God might be because you are in a period of preparation for some revelation from God that the person has never known before. In reading Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King, this is stated as a reason for God’s silence, if the answer isn’t sin in a life. According to the authors if there is not unconfessed sin then there is a period of preparation of deeper understanding of God. The advice is to keep doing the last thing God told you to do until a fresh encounter with God comes along. That is certainly a possibility, God moving in a life often requires preparation for what He has for that person to do. Think of Moses in the desert for 40 years. Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still and know He is God. Great advice from the Divine. A period of silence requires faith, and that can be used by God to mold one for His plans. Again, I get a little caught up with unconfessed sin and ruling it out and then saying it must be God is getting ready to reveal some new, deep understanding. I am not sure I agree with the Blackaby approach of rule out sin first and then ready oneself for deeper revelation from God.

Approval: In some respects this third reason builds on the second: it requires faith, showing a life molded, shaped and grown by God. But it offers an interesting counterpoint to the reason of disobedience. In the book entitled A First Century Message to Twentieth Century Christians: Address based upon the Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia (Yes that is the title), G. Campbell Morgan speaks to the seven letters included in Revelation 2 and 3. In the letter to the church in Smyrna, he offers up this nugget:

Some child of God, whelmed with great and crushing sorrows is longing for the sound of His voice, and there is nothing but silence. It may be that that silence is a sign, not of disapproval but of approval. Do not be cast down. If in the midst of tribulation and suffering there is no voice, it may be that the silence of the Lord is His highest commendation.

Morgan goes on to explain that the silence may be an indication that one is living at the highest level of faith and love of the Lord, requiring no word of encouragement from God. Think of that, a faith so strong that God shows His approval by silence, knowing the faith residing in the person is enough for the trial and tribulation the person finds themselves in. God knows the person enough and is confident in the faith inherent in that person so as not to need to speak to them.

I think that is a message today’s culture has caused the church to lay aside. We are conditioned by the world to expect feedback, to seek and receive praise, or encouragement or correction. But God’s ways are not ours. I know God is ever present in the lives of believers, but I haven’t found a Bible verse that states that He will be talking to us all the time. What is the will of God is to allow a believer to keep living and doing what he or she is doing because He approves, and He feels nothing else need be said. Imagine the faith of one who can find silence from God in their life and be joyous in the Lord because of it!

You are seeking His will and His way, searching out the purposes He has for your life. You are deep into study of and meditation on the Word of God. You are ministering to others around you, or are facing trial and tribulation but are turning to and leaning on Him alone. But there is nothing but silence from God. Keep doing what you know in your heart is in alignment with what the Lord has revealed in the pages of Scripture. I noted earlier that not every sin means silence; not every obedient act need be commented on by the Lord either.

Silence from God. Maybe you are not doing anything wrong. Maybe at this time in your life you are doing everything right.