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?”
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.”