“But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil. Will you wink at their treachery? Should you be silent while the wicked swallow up people more righteous than they?” – Habakkuk 1:13
There are times when it seems as though God has packed up, moved far away, and left no forwarding address. In those times, it is difficult to sense His presence. It can feel like you have been abandoned: In those moments, you are confused and alone, and frustrated.
If you are experiencing one of those times when God is silent, do not believe the lie that you are a second-tier, second-rate Christian. It is possible, even probable, that it means quite the opposite. God is silent for a reason. We may not see the reason and that is where faith and trust come in. Will we continue to trust God in His silence?
The Bible is full of examples of people who continued to trust God in their circumstances. One example is Abraham and Sarah. In Genesis, chapters 12–18, we learn that Abraham and Sarah experienced nearly twenty-five years of God’s silence. Abraham was seventy-five years old when God asked him to leave everything he knew to follow Him. God promised Abram, “I will make of you a great nation.” (Genesis 12:2). Imagine you are in Abraham and Sarah’s shoes. Years had passed since God’s promise that your descendants would become a great nation. For many years, God had been silent regarding how and when His covenant with you would be fulfilled. Suddenly, God appears to you (see Genesis 15:1–6) and you find yourself standing outside, gazing at the night sky as the Lord compares your future and immeasurable offspring with the innumerable stars of the sky. Abram “believed the Lord” (Genesis 15:6). Here we see that even after many years of God’s silence, and having absolutely nothing to show for it, Abraham trusted in God’s faithfulness. Fast-forward to Genesis 17, Abram is now ninety-nine years old. After sixteen verses of God proclaiming His might and power (see Genesis 17:1–16), Abraham responds in a most human way: he laughed which was an expression of disbelief and doubt. Genesis 17:17-19 says, “…How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” So Abraham said to God, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!” But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you.”
“The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.” (Genesis 21:1-2)
God’s silence is not always a bad thing. So here is the key application: when the silence is real in your life, you must recognize that you are not alone in the stillness. Although God may seem silent regarding a specific request or petition, remember that He is always in a constant state of communication with us. Just because God seems silent doesn’t mean you should doubt Him or stop praying. God’s silence isn’t a license for us to turn our backs on Him. Instead, it’s an invitation to press forward and seek Him even harder.
- How often is God silent in your life?
- What is your reaction to the silence? What should our reaction be?
- What should we do in the silence?
- What can we do differently this week as a result of this series?