I am blessed at the church I serve. I serve with a wonderful staff, a staff seeking the fruit of the Spirit by the grace of the Gospel. I serve a congregation with deep roots that was more than welcoming to my family and me. I serve with a consistory of men who love the Lord and I would like to share with you something one of them has written to our congregation. This was published in our bulletin this last Sunday as our Senior Pastor preached from 1 Samuel 3, the God Who Speaks.
I won’t tell you much about this particular elder, except that he is a breath of fresh air to me. He is a man, and I mean that in the best of ways. He carries his Bible with no apologies, and he knows grace has a backbone. He knows this grace and how to distribute it lavishly, and he knows a young guy like me needs the sure-footed wisdom God has blessed him with. So, without bragging more about one of my elders, here is Frank, telling us about “When God is Silent.”
I think one of the greatest tests in the Christian life, is the test of our prayers going unanswered. How can it be when a Christian has lived their life in devotion to God with singleness of purpose, with a disciplined longing to serve Him, and yet the very avenue of which God gave us to commune with Him seems so one-sided. Our times of prayer have gone from conversation to pleading and yet through our tears there is no relief. Our joy has turned to sorrow, our hope to despair and our trust to doubt. The days that were once filled with satisfaction and anticipation, have since succumbed to nights of restlessness and despair. The God who has always answered is silent. How is the Christian to respond to these times? How is he to once again center his view on God?
It is often through our darkest times that we do our deepest reflecting. It is only through that complication that we see more clearly our past. It’s through these times that we see the foundation upon which our faith was built. In the present, we are faced with the question of our belief in God regardless of our circumstances, but when we look at the past we must ask ourselves was our belief based upon His answers?
It is through God’s silence that we often gain a greater understanding of God and His ways. Our times of despair are not meant for us to question God, though that seems the most logical. These times are meant for us to reflect upon God. It’s through God’s silence that we gain a greater understanding of God, and His ways.
I believe there are three things that we can learn when God is silent. The first, is to see our prayers as worship. Never forget that. God may be silent and bring no answers to our request, yet the very fact that we are focusing our thoughts towards God is worship. God hears our prayers. His silence develops and expands our expression to Him. It is only in our darkest moments that we make our loudest cries. Our expressions to Him are changed, our communion with Him is more intense and we are reminded who He is and that He alone can satisfy our longing.
The second thing that I think God wants us to learn from His silence is that our persistence in prayer is seen as trust in Him. How else could God reveal to us the depth of our reliance upon Him except through His silence? God hears our prayers.
The third thing that God would have us learn from His silence is that He wants us to see our waiting as an illustration of His sovereignty. The day in which we live allows us to control our affairs. We plan our days and lives based upon our wants and desires. It is only when we can no longer control our circumstances that we most earnestly turn to God. God knows that our greatest weakness is self-reliance and our greatest need is dependence upon Him. It is through His silence that we more fully contemplate His sovereignty. He alone is the one who should chart our course. It is through His silence that we must release control and rest in His direction for our lives.
Is God silent in your life? Has He left you in want of your requests? Take comfort in knowing that your prayers reach the ears of God. Your prayers are not mere thoughts in the confines of your mind or just spoken verbiage. They are words of worship that God hears. Your persistence in prayer displays your continued trust in Him. Your waiting for His answers allows His sovereignty to be displayed in your life.