It’s always frustrating to me when I have just shared something really important with my husband, only to discover he didn’t hear a word! But, as difficult as that is, it’s even more challenging to pour out my heart to God, and only feel silence in return. Have you found yourself there? Where is God in the silence?
I know I’m not the first person to ask that question and won’t be the last. David asked it in Psalm 22:1, when he said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?” Job also said of God, “I cry to you and you do not answer me; I stand, and you merely look at me” in Job 30:20.Were their questions answered?
After David cried out his longing to God, although we don’t really have a clear picture in this passage of exactly what he heard in answer to his prayer, David wrote of his awareness that God does indeed listen and his assurance of God’s love (Psalm 66:16-20). While Job longed to have his “why?” questions answered, God instead spoke to him in a storm and revealed himself through the elements. Even though these were men of faith, they still had questions about God’s silence…and that helps me some in my own faith journey.
Maybe what really hurts is NOT the silence, but our perceptions, or how we choose to interpret the silence. My own thoughts in such instances tend to run to questions like, “What did I do?” “Why doesn’t God hear me?” “Why doesn’t God love me?” Or “Why am I being punished?” But, like Job, I am challenged to realize I am not God, and his ways are not always known or understood. Silence is only how it feels to me…not how it actually is in God’s prevue. Instead of feeling the silence, I am learning to ask if the silence might be God’s way of getting my attention. I’m learning…
Silence forces me to knock louder. It increases my yearning to know God, to understand his ways. Silence challenges me to listen harder…to dig into scripture and rely more on God’s word. Silence forces me to keep asking – to press forward and into God. And, finally, silence challenges me to remain faithful, trusting God in spite of my questions and being thankful. – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist