What to do When God Seems Silent

In every relationship, communication is an important key to success- communication between a husband and wife, a parent and child, a boss and employee, a pastor and the congregation, friend to friend. In every relationship, communication plays a vital role. Misunderstandings happen often because of a lack of communication. An employee may not accomplish a given task the way a boss expects because there was a misunderstanding. A husband and wife may find themselves stretched too thin in various activities because they didn’t communicate.

Misunderstandings happen often, especially in today’s age due to texting and online communication. While there is still the possibility of miscommunication in face-to-face contact, the possibility jumps astronomically when you consider not face-to-face. Texting, email, and letters open the door wide open for misunderstanding, and you must be careful when using them.

Can you imagine not hearing from someone you need to be in contact with? You try to contact your boss about an upcoming project, and he doesn’t return your calls. You try to get with the pastor about the series he wants you to do in Sunday School, but he’s never around. You keep calling your husband to find out when he will be home and he won’t contact you. It’s frustrating to say the least. I can confidently say that, unless something absolutely drastic happens, eventually, contact will resume.

But what if it’s God who is silent? I’m not talking about your boss who has a project for you to finish or a wife who wants to know when you will be home. I’m talking about God who is in control of everything; God, who wants us to follow Him and love Him and be like His Son. What do we do when HE is silent?

Elijah the prophet found himself in a similar situation in 1 Kings 18:1.

“And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.”

Let me remind you that Elijah is not just any normal guy. This man is a prophet. This is God’s messenger to the nation of Judah. It was literally Elijah’s life calling and duty to share with Judah what God told him. Commentaries say that Elijah went anywhere from weeks to two years without hearing a single word from Jehovah God. Can you imagine what Elijah is feeling? He’s trying to be the prophet that God wants him to be in the midst of a terrible drought that is destroying the land and taking the lives of people everywhere, yet God is silent. I understand that prophets that minister like Elijah don’t exist anymore, but I have a strong inclination that some of God’s children go through spiritual droughts and don’t hear from God. What do you do when that happens? What do you do when God seems silent?

  1. Keep doing what you’re supposed to do.
    Many people will think that because God is silent that must mean that He wants you to change what you’re doing. Logically, that doesn’t even make sense. Whatever God has told you to do, stay faithful in it. Elijah, however long it was that he didn’t hear from God, continued to do what he was supposed to do. Elijah was at the brook Cherith and God said to stay there while he was being fed by ravens and drank from the brook. It wasn’t until God said to go to Zarephath that Elijah changed what he did. Keep doing what God wants. Don’t assume that because He isn’t speaking that He is directing you somewhere else.
  2. Trust Him more- not less!
    How often do we push someone away from our hearts because they haven’t spoken to us in a while? I don’t know if you experience that, but I tend to forget about people when I don’t keep in contact with them. It’s not a good thing, and I’m working on it. But that’s who I am right now. Whether that is your tendency or not, don’t fall into the trap of pushing God away when you don’t hear from Him. The times of silence you face are the very times when you need to pursue Him more.
  3. Examine your relationship with God.
    It’s possible that God isn’t speaking to you, and it’s not His fault. I don’t intend to sound harsh, but the reality is that God may be silent because there is sin in your life that isn’t taken care of. It may not be always the case, but be sure that your fellowship with God isn’t hindered on your end.
  4. Remember that He is still there.
    It’s easy to doubt God when we don’t hear from Him. However, the Bible is clear that He is always with us. When God seems silent, remember that He hasn’t abandoned you. He is still there. He still loves you. He still cares for you as His child that He saved through the death of His own Son Jesus.
  5. Spend even more time in His Word.
    Elijah heard from God in a much different way than we do. Elijah heard God in a literal way. God spoke to him. Sometimes, I admit, I wish I could hear like Elijah; however, I am quickly reminded that I have a “more sure word of prophecy.” God has given to us His holy Word to study and find out what He wants. While there are specific decisions God leads us to make that are not necessarily expounded upon in the Holy Scriptures (i.e. spouse, career, college, specific church to join), God is always speaking to us through His Word.

Sometimes it feels like our prayers don’t go beyond the ceiling, and that’s a terrible way to feel. You aren’t without hope though! I hope you remember that God speaks to us through His Word. He still loves you. Take time to examine your relationship with God, and take care of any sin that gets in the way of God directing. Trust Him even more, and keep doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

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