Thursday, 07 September 2017 10:37

When God Is Silent

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Yesterday I went to the funeral of a three-week old baby. We had prayed diligently for her healing. For some reason God was silent, in response to our prayer.

Last week Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast of SW Louisiana and South Texas. God seemed to be silent.

Does it disturb you, like me, that God sometimes takes the path of silence?

  • God may keep silent when storms come.
  • God may keep silent when a crippling disease strikes.
  • God may keep silent when injustice is apparent.
  • God may keep silent when ungodliness seems to be in control.

Obviously these examples are a small sampling of God’s silence.

For me, the challenge of God’s silence would be more difficult to bear had He not allowed us to sample this reality in His word. In Matt. 27:46 we find the agonizing prayer of Jesus as He hung on the cross.  He felt forsaken by His Father. He felt the silence of Heaven.

We can never accuse God of hiding painful truth. There are many episodes in the Bible when God revealed painful truth with a sobering force. As stated in the previous paragraph, Jesus was not sheltered from the reality of God’s silence. Therefore, in order to cope with the reality of God’s silence we should learn from Jesus’ experience. The Bible says Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Consider these truths that come from Jesus’ experience.

First, Jesus understands our struggle with God’s silence. He experienced God’s silence; therefore, He knows how to comfort those who have similar experiences.

Silence has a way of sharpening our dependence on Jesus. He does not condemn or cast stones. He knows the agony we face during God’s silence. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:15-16)

Second, trials are not a sign of God’s dis-favor or lack of love. Jesus was God’s beloved Son and yet God allowed Him to experience silence. If God allowed His own Son to experience His silence, in spite of His great love for Him, then maybe God has something in store for me.

As humans, we tend to jump to the wrong conclusions when negative things come our way. We assume God is mad at us or that He does not love us. Jesus’ experience negates this foregone conclusion.

Third, God often does His greatest work when He seems to be silent. God appeared to be silent as Jesus hung on the cross. However, after three days, God’s sovereign will broke through as He raised Jesus from the grave.

The “Footprints in the Sand” is a popular piece of art that has brought comfort to thousands. The struggler in this story complains and blames God because there was only one set of footprints in the sand when life got tough. He assumed God had forsaken him. However, the struggler quickly learns that the one set of prints does not indicate God’s absence during times of trouble. Rather, the one set of prints represents the sustaining presence of God during life’s trying times. God was carries us!

God may seem to be absent during various seasons of our life. That is not the case! During those times His sustaining presence has a greater work to fulfill.

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