Attacks On Our Hope: When God Is Silent

Sometimes attacks on our hope don’t come from other people, our flesh, or Satan, but (it would seem) from God Himself.  Heretical?  Not really.  We simply misinterpret God’s silences as ignoring us, or as Him being angry at us, neither of which is the case.

We deal with situations and ask for guidance, or comfort, and all we get is silence.  It makes us wonder if He is even there.  However, He has always, historically, shown Himself and then hidden Himself.  And historically, we have had our worst trials when we have had to go by faith alone, without external confirmations or emotional highs.

Did you know that Abraham, after God told him to start on his journey to an unknown destination, God didn’t speak to him for a long time?  Abraham had to go it without God’s direct intervention and face constant attackers. 

God didn’t speak to Israel during the 400 years of slavery in Egypt, but He still knew about their plight and prepared for them a deliverer.  Moses didn’t hear from God for 40 years while he was tending sheep in the desert for his father-in-law.

When Joseph was thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, and placed in prison, God wasn’t speaking to him.  He had to go by faith the entire time, believing that what everyone else intended as evil for him, God would use it for his (and his nation’s and family’s) salvation.

When David faced Goliath, God didn’t part the clouds and shine a light down and give him instructions.  He already knew the God he had been praising with his harp, and who had proven Himself against a bear and a lion, would prove Himself faithful again – without saying an additional heavenly word.

When Daniel and his friends were thrown into the fire, there was no voice from heaven.  The only thing they had was God’s word in their hearts and memories of God’s faithfulness to them.  They were expected to act on what they already knew and believed – to walk by faith and not by sight.

You can’t have faith in what you see – that’s not faith.  You can only have faith when you can’t see.  I’ve heard it said that without doubt, faith is impossible.  If you can’t doubt it, then you can’t have faith in it.  Confusing?  Not really.

Hebrews 11:1 says,

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” 

If you can see it, it doesn’t require faith.  Only if what you need is presently unseen does it require faith.  And God is BIG into building faith. 

So if He spends all His time being present in front of you, whispering in your ear, revealing Himself in miraculous ways, giving you the “holy ghost bumps”, there is never any reason to live by faith, which is the equivalent of righteousness in God’s eyes.

Romans 1:17 says:

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

There is a story told about a tightrope walker who tied a rope between two New York sky scrapers with no net below. 

He yelled to the crowd, “Do you think I can do this?” They yelled, “Yes!”   And he walked across and people cheered. 

Then he took a wheelbarrow and placed it on the tightrope and asked, “Do you think I can do this?”  “Yes!”, they yelled.  And he walked across successfully with the wheelbarrow. 

“Do you think I can do that again?”, he asked?  “Yes!”, cried the people. 

“So which of you will get in the wheelbarrow?” 

Silence.

Real faith, the kind that is equal to righteousness in God’s eyes, is not KNOWING in your heart that God will do what He has promised, and KNOWING that “Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” (Joshua 21:45)  Real faith is getting in the wheelbarrow.  It is putting your faith into action when you have no earthly assurance of what the result will be.

James 2:18 says:

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

God’s silence is not meant to be an attack on our hope, but an opportunity for us to exercise our faith.  Those are the times when we draw from His word, His promises, and our own memories of His prior faithfulness and we step forward and do the next thing we know to do. 

My comfort is in knowing that when we have entrusted our entire lives to Him, HE is responsible for our lives turning out right, NOT US.  I believe He can change other people, circumstances and events to make things still turn out right, even if I made a mistake in my judgement.  I’m not talking about deliberate sin, although often He has amazing mercy in that area (I’m living proof). I’m talking about you trying to obey and follow God and just not making what appears to be the right decision at the time. 

So if He is silent right now, don’t let it affect your hope.  Let your hope be IN HIM (which is honestly the ONLY place our hope should EVER be).  Read how faithful He has been in the scriptures, and how even bad decisions can be redeemed. This will help you from decision paralysis when you’re afraid to make the wrong decision. 

In Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest”, he says this about silence:

Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? You will find that God has trusted you in the most intimate way possible, with an absolute silence, not of despair, but of pleasure, because He saw that you could stand a bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, praise Him, He is bringing you into the great run of His purposes. The manifestation of the answer in time is a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God.

So put your faith into action, believing that God in His sovereignty will handle things in His timing, and take this silence as His command to “trust God and do the next thing.”

Penny Haynes

http://ChristianWomenWithDepression.com

6 Replies to “Attacks On Our Hope: When God Is Silent”

  1. Your message reminds me of a poem I wrote a long time ago; I was reminded again when I was in the hospital as a result of a brain aneurysm last year.

    My kids help me write when I need to but this poem wouldn’t leave my head – even when I couldn’t speak – God was there telling me to keep going… so I did… still am.

    Hope you like the poem.

    My best, Donna

    Guided By Grace

    There’s a voice speaking low
    In the stillness of the night
    I look to the heavens; I glimpse a light
    My doubts have been calmed
    My distress put at ease
    Suddenly I remembered HIS promise to me

    HIS ultimate promise to see me through
    HIS words spoken softly quietly reassured
    Unconditional love never felt quite so real
    As the Father in heaven revealed himself to me

    I shudder to think what life would be like
    Without HIS guidance and a shining light
    To show me the way and illuminate the path
    I’ll follow HIS lead forever indebted and blithe.

    1. Wow, Donna! I am blown away, not only by what you went through, but the poem God gave you for when you would need Him most. If you can ever share more about what you went through, I’d love to hear about it, as I’m sure others would as well. It is really comforting to know that God was continuing to speak to you even when your body couldn’t respond and you couldn’t speak. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. I came here this morning, Penny, looking for something to hold onto today, and found it in this entry. It has been almost five years since we moved here totally believing that God directed it. The miracles we saw that brought us to Murray County were unbelievable.

    Then, as soon as we were moved, it seemed as if God just went away – turned from us. We heard nothing by way of further direction. Things got HARD. We kept going in the direction we thought he wanted us to travel in, and the further we went…the HARDER things got.

    Almost five years later, nothing has really changed….but me. I have become stronger and better in so many ways – on most days. Today, however, I am tired. I read my Bible and feel like it is just words on a page. I realize that I am behaving like an Israelite, and I don’t want to be that. Still, I need some shred of something beyond myself and positive thinking right now.

    What I want is answers to all my why’s. However, I know God well enough to know that I won’t likely have those anytime soon.

    Anyway, enough whining. Thanks for your blog!! I appreciate your openness and willingness to be transparent. It is a rare and priceless treasure in the Christian community to be sure!

    1. Tracie, than YOU for your transparency! I was reading a few days ago about the story of 3 women praying. Jesus spoke tenderly to one, just touched the shoulder of another, and walked right past the third. You might think that’s the order of who he loved the most to the least, but that wasn’t it.
      The first was a wobbly Christian who hadn’t learned to really trust Him yet. The second was a more mature Christian who was exercising her faith, but still needed assurance to walk her walk. The third had learned to walk by faith and didn’t need assurance. God was preparing her to be the mightiest of warriors. Sounds like you are #3.

      I also know you have younger children, and I know how seriously you take that. Perhaps you might consider that God is using your obedience during His silence to be an example of strength and faith to them. What you are living in front of them will be the most incredible legacy you can ever give them.

      I don’t know what He is doing in you and your family, but I do know that God used Oswald Chamber mightily in small areas for 40 years, and then took Him. It looked like God didn’t achieve anything – and then see what God did after his life was over. We never know what the end result of our present faithfulness will be.

      The word I have for you is Do not despise the small things. You must be doing what He wants, or He would speak what He wanted you to be doing differently. I pray that you will keep walking in faith during the mundane activities of life and can live in joy knowing He is finding you faithful.

        1. I’m so glad that it ministered to you. ;-). I spent almost 8 years in the wilderness, but I promise you, once it is past, it’s like the wilderness never even happened. God wipes it from your mind, and there is just the appreciation of living in the “now” of God. I did not handle my wilderness with grace and faithfulness, unfortunately – but you? You are. 😉

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