Do you ever get the feeling that God is absent, that He checked out of your life or that He is missing in action? I felt that way recently after spending some time alone with God on a retreat. I was in dare need of direction concerning an issue I was facing and it seemed to me that the more I prayed and asked Him for instructions the more “deafening” His silence was. This “silence” continued for a while until I began to understand what was really going on.
The first reality I had to come to terms with was the fact that God never left and His silence was not a confirmation of His absence. God tells us in Det 31:6 that “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” The same scripture is re-iterated in the New Testament in the book of Hebrews 13:5. If God tells us in both the Old and New Testament that He will never leave us nor forsake us then we can take it to the bank that God will keep His words concerning us, even in moments when we don’t feel Him close (Remember God is a faithful God).
So if God hasn’t left, why the silence? You may ask. Well the second reality is that sometimes our own actions and sins could be separating us from Him. In essence, God never leaves He remains with us but we are the ones that leave due to our sins and guilt. When this happens, it is difficult to hear from Him. Do you remember what happened to Adam and Eve? Once they sinned by disobeying God, the first thing that happened was that they felt ashamed and immediately separated themselves from God’s presence. God in this case, was not running away, it was the sinful man/woman who was doing the running away. Examine yourself, are you running away? If you are, run back to Him and you will find Him waiting.
Now there is another dimension to this which occurs when are going through a spiritual test or trial. Most times, these tests or trials occur when we are “doing well” spiritually. I mean, we are praying, reading our bibles, paying tithes, walking in love etc and then “boom” here comes a major test, just like Job. I have been there and I have to admit that those are not fun times, in fact, if you are not careful, you could come away thinking that God is responsible for all the mishaps in your life and that He has completely abandoned you in the mist of the trial. However, that is not the case; God never leaves us in the mist of our tests or trials. He is there even when we don’t feel His presence. So how do you explain God’s silence when we are going through trials? Well God’s silence when we go through trial doesn’t mean He has abandoned us or that He has left us to suffer, God silence means that He is watching. Watching? Yes, He is watching to see how we will react to His silence. He is watching to see what you will do with the instructions He has already given us. He is watching to see what you will do with your worship or praise. Are you going to continue praying and praising Him regardless of your issue? Are you going to confess His love for you even when you don’t feel His love? God is watching to see if we will continue to take steps in line with His words. God is watching our responses like a teacher in a classroom , watching his beloved student taking a test. Good teachers do not interfere when their students are taking a test, they watch but never leave the class room. In the same vein, God’s watching or silence should never be mistaken for unconcern and abandonment. When I know my good teacher is watching me in a class, I have a sense of confidence, even though I am taking a test. So we basically need to snap out of the funk and begin to see that He is always there regardless. We need to use what He has given us (His word) as a means of encouragement. We have to constantly remind ourselves of God’s goodness, His love, His provision even when we don’t feel it. I love what Rick Warren said in his book “The Purpose Driven Life,” he says and I quote “The most common mistake Christians make in worship today is seeking an experience rather than seeking God. God is much more than a feeling, He is real and that is why He is there whether you feel it or not. So in moments when it feels like God has checked out of the building or when you feel the pains of His silence, remember His faithfulness, meditate on his love, confess His provision and remember that He never leaves. Hang in there, in time He will speak. God bless.