Surviving The Silence
What’s going on when you can’t hear from God?
God, the King of Kings, The Lord of all, YAHWEH, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Lord God Almighty, Everlasting King, our Father, is not a silent God.
In Genesis chapter one (Gen.1:3, 6, 8, 9, 11, 14, 20, 22, 24, 26), God was speaking creation into existence. "...and God Said..." God used speech in creation, He used word to create all he had planned. We start in Genesis with spoken word, and we move through the whole of the Old Testament seeing that God communicated with creation. I’ll hand it to you, He didn't always communicate in the most obvious or easy ways, but he was certainly not silent towards those who loved him.
He spoke on mountains, in a still small voice, through symbols and priests, through people, kings, judges and prophets, and countless other ways. In the New Testament he speaks in similar ways, although there is one key difference: God came to humanity and spoke in a really obvious way.
What is Jesus world famous for? Speaking. Saying things. He wasn't a shrinking violet who just sat and watched people. He had an answer for everything. He had sermons to preach, and challenges to dish out. It was with his voice that he spoke life back into the dead, and he healed people by using speech as well. But I’m not suggesting that Jesus was constantly chatting, he knew when to speak and when not too, and he knew and used the power of his voice well. Of course he did, he is God.
After Jesus had ascended God continued to speak. The Holy Spirit continued to speak to the disciples. He guided them around their missionary trips, informed them of where to stay and whom to speak to. He has written his laws on the hearts and minds of His disciples. (Hebrews 10:16) That same Holy Spirit continues to do that role today.
Why am I going on about this? My point is that Our God does speak. He has spoken, he speaks today and he will continue to speak into eternity.
Then why can’t I hear Him? Why do I feel dry? Some people may say, "I’m in a real desert place at the moment." Normally meaning they are not feeling 'close' to God. They are not hearing from him personally, "Why won’t he just tell me about...blah…"
I’m going to throw two things at this.
One is simply this. Silence doesn't mean God is not communicating. Someone once said, “Well timed silence is more eloquent than speech.” There are times when silence is the right response, and we can often learn the most when we are left alone. I would be surprised if God did constantly tell us things, especially things we want to know! You and I know that God created us in such a way that we were to think. To enjoy that process in the long run of working something out, with pointers at times, and getting to the end point having learnt a lot on the way. Remember, the Lord is transforming us, and that takes time in this earthly bit of our eternal life. This transformation will continue for however long we have here, He uses the time well, through obvious revelations, clear guidance, appropriate silence (He is the judge of what appropriate is BTW) and all of this is done in the knowledge that He has said all he has to say.
To say, He has said all he has to say, is a big claim. Let me unpack that a bit. So to my second point. We see God speaking in all sorts of ways in The Bible. The Holy Spirit now speaks to us individually and as the church, in different ways. There are similarities, as our Lord is the same Lord! But, God has given us The Bible. In The Bible there is all we need to know. God has revealed all he has to reveal. We are now simply waiting for his return, and in that he has given us things to be doing. Namely, building his Kingdom. Drawing more people towards him, making disciples. (Matt 28 - and the rest of the NT)
God is not silent, He has given us His word in scripture, all of which is from himYes, written by humans, but Holy Spirit inspired them to write as they did. None of it is wrong, all of the Bible is God speaking to humanity, and guess what? The majority of us have it in our hand, or house, or book shelf. God speaks through the Bible, and the Holy Spirit unpacks that in our hearts. Let’s not get wrapped up in this new immature “God will tell me exactly what I need to be doing tomorrow, and next Wednesday, probably in the middle of the third set of worship at church." We need to aim for a mature faith that is prepared for The Holy Spirit to be showing us what he wants for us, but if that is not what he is doing with us then we don't throw a tantrum, we listen to Holy Spirit as we read the Scriptures. We will be guided and revealed things, as we read the words he has given us. "God does not bestow the Spirit on his people in order to set aside the use of his Word, but rather to render it fruitful." (John Calvin. Boss)
God may well hold some silence in our lives for a while, he may teach us all sorts by speaking or not in our lives, but he has given us all the words we need to gain eternal life, and bring others to that new life as well. The Bible is God’s living and speaking word to us now. It is a never ending well of fresh water and The Holy Spirit will enable us to gain from it.
How to survive the silence. Open the book, and hear his voice.