I was recently debating with a friend whether God is ever actually silent or is it simply we have stopped listening?
It is often preached that God is always speaking and if we can’t hear him then it’s us that haven’t tuned in to the right frequency.
Yet I can see both sides of this confusing debate. Is it possible for God to be silent or is it always our fault if we can’t hear him?
Unless you have ever experienced the sheer frustration of a silent season, then you may never ask this question.
We read in Scripture arguments supporting both sides of the debate:
Job 30:20 says
“I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me.
King David experienced the same thing in psalms when we read
“My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”
These are the same words that Christ Himself used on the cross when His Father turned His face away from Him.
Yet God promises the Children of Israel in Deuteronomy 31:6
” For the Lord your God He is the one who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.”
And again King David who earlier was questioning Gods appearance, later states in Psalms 139:7
‘Where can I go from your Spirit?’ Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
Is it any wonder we are confused about this topic?
To answer this question we should stop asking the IF and instead look at the WHY.
Why would God ever be silent?
There are a myriad of sounds that bombard our ears and invade our minds every moment of the day.
The sound of cars passing by the window; the tapping of the keyboard; the clock rhythmically ticking on the wall or the subtle noise of the fridge humming in the background.
Noises that we grow accustomed to that are left unnoticed paling into the background of our already busy minds.
The voice of the Lord can often fall into this same category. A noise that we are hearing but are so accustomed to that it fades into the background and we longer notice it or even accredit it to God.
Yet there is one sound that drowns out all others. It is the sound that pricks our ears to notice, prompts our minds to pay attention and jolts our heart to stop a moment and listen.
The noise that demands our attention is the sound of complete Silence.
Have you ever fallen asleep during a movie only to be woken at the end by the silence that follows it? Silence is loud enough to awaken you from your sleep.
I believe this is why God allows us to go through a season where He seems silent.
His silence can speak more than His words.
It is in the silence that the slightest sound seems amplified.
Silence leads us to notice that His voice is missing. It causes us to acknowledge what life is like without Him. It drives us to dig deeper and search harder.
About 6 years ago I went through a long season of silence. I just couldn’t hear God and I became hopeless in making decisions for myself. I lost my confidence, I was uncertain of everything and I believed that I must have done something to disappoint God.
I was confused, discouraged and felt abandoned. I understood the laments of David and the cries of Job.
It was a very frustrating and soul searching experience. It lead me to a point of such desperation where I could stand it no longer.
I was alone in my bedroom early one morning where I cried out “God either you start speaking to me or take me as I can’t live without your voice”.
This was the breaking point, the moment that His silence was leading me to, where my soul cried out for Him. That was the moment both He and I truly knew how much I longed for Him.
In His silence my heart was revealed.
From that moment on the tap was turned on and He began to speak in every way possible. I received hundreds or words of encouragement from random people at unexpected moments, scriptures began to mean something to me again, I could feel his love restoring me. He spoke so much it became overwhelming and He has continued to remain close to me since.
I look back now and although that season was challenging I remain grateful for what it taught me. I now fully understand the value of living in the fullness of His presence and hearing His voice in my life.
So to answer the question Is God ever silent?
I believe the answer is both Yes and No. We must not confuse silence for absence for He is always there even without words.