Finding God in a Season of Silence

Written By

Elena Naccarato

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What do we do as Christians when we are crying out to God for answers, for peace, for healing, or perhaps clarity, and we are faced with nothing but…silence? How do we make sense of that when verses in scripture like Isaiah 58:9 promise us, “You will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” So, why does he sometimes leave us without an answer? He’s supposed to answer. Right?

 

 

This divine absence can easily cause us to question God’s goodness, or existence even. Unbelief then feels almost natural and fitting whereas belief has to be fought for with great effort. It is times such as this that often frighten believers due to their faith feeling fragile and easily broken. The foundation can crumble because of weak truths and convictions, causing someone to swing from belief to unbelief.

The truth is that oftentimes people are not looking for reasons to ditch God or deny His existence. In reality, they are deeply desperate to encounter Him. They are eager to hear His voice or see His face, and yet it seems as if He simply does not appear, leaving them with what seems to be no choice but to give up hope that He is there at all. 

 

Psalm 77

“Where Are You, God?”

This has been a problem for humanity throughout history, and can even be seen when the Psalmist cries out, “Where are you, God?” similarly to how we might cry out today. Psalm 77 records, “When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: ‘Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?’” (Psalm 77:1-9 NIV)

It almost seems that in these moments, it is not that Christians are leaving the faith, but rather the faith and belief are leaving them, which is heartbreaking, yet relatable for most of us who have been a believer for long enough and have experienced enough of life’s hardships.

 

 

My Own Season of Silence

A few years ago, I was in my own season of silence when faced with a tough decision I needed to make in college. I spent months crying out to God (literally and figuratively) that He would offer His guidance and presence regarding His will for the situation I desperately needed peace in. However, after hundreds of tears shed and countless hours on my knees in prayer, I encountered nothing but divine crickets. Ultimately, the decision that was tearing me apart and leaving me confused was one I had to make on my own. This left me with intense anger towards God. It infuriated me that there had never before been a situation in my life that I have prayed over and invited God into as much as this, and yet it felt as if He was hands-off and distant. 

The weeks and months following this, I learned a lot about how God is not the type of deity to spoon-feed us every answer and solution, but rather He often empowers us to step out in faith and figure things out on our own so we can learn. The thing about this though, is that we are never alone in these moments. If we are in Christ, then we must remember that He is indeed with us even in the most bleak and silent times. The life, works, and death of Jesus is a divine gift that is a testament to God’s willingness to meet us where we are at and welcome us as we are. There is so much freedom in this reminder.

 

 

Silence is a Call to Remember God

Let me encourage you, believer, that when your season of silence comes, because it will eventually, you must remember God. You see, the problem is not that God isn’t doing enough to prove Himself, the problem is the human heart, every time. We are so quick to forget. We forget the promises that He fulfilled in the past. We forget the ways He has proven Himself faithful for decades of our lives. We forget the abundance of provision that we took for granted until we suddenly are overcome with the wanting of something new that is just out of reach. Remembrance is a conscious and intentional practice that has to be consistently prioritized because there is a very real enemy who is trying his hardest to get us to forget. Satan’s tactic is strategic in his gradual attempts to distract us and convince us that God doesn’t hear our pleas or maybe just doesn’t care enough to answer them.

 

 

Silence is a Reminder That God Has Already Shown Up

Earlier I quoted Psalm 77 and the miserable cries of hopelessness that it contained. I stopped at verse 9, however, if you keep reading, the next section shares a new perspective. Psalm 77:10-12 says, “Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

 

 

It doesn’t always seem like the natural choice, and definitely doesn’t always seem like the desirable choice, but remembrance is what will sustain us in our season of silence. There is a quote I love by an old Baptist preacher named Alexander Maclaren. He stated, “Memory supplies the colours with which Hope paints her truest pictures.”

When we cry out and ask God why He has not shown up, He says that He already has. His name is Jesus, and he lives within us. Let us remind ourselves of this all the rest of our days.

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