I am sharing this devotion from My Utmost for His Highest on the silence of God. I have found the principles which are shared in this devotion to be true both in the examples of the lives of others and in my own life personally. I pray that if you are walking through a time of silence that you would find encouragement here today.
God’s Silence— Then What?
When He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. --John 11:6
Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence.
My Utmost for His Highest
There have been so many examples of this pattern of silence found in scripture.
Hannah ~ God was silent to her prayers for a child for many years before Samuel came but this child would change an entire nation.
Job ~ During his time of silence Job was tested and tried, but in the end he was blessed beyond measure and became an example for many generations to see and follow.
Joseph ~ He remained strong in his faith while walking through many years of silence but in the end became the second in command in the strongest nation of that time.
Abraham ~ Out of his years of testing and silence came Isaac which produced Jacob and an entire nation was born.
David ~ He was tested with silence for many years before becoming king.
Jesus ~ Looking over the prayer at the Garden of Gethsemene we cannot see that God answered back except with silence...an answer that led to the cross ~ which opened the way of salvation for multitudes.
The silence of God is in itself an answer. Wait on Him. He is working out all things for your good ~ both for you and in you. There are times when our character is in need of more work from the silence than the answer itself will bring and yet the moment He sees that the work is complete our visible answers will come and His purposes will be accomplished. To be brought into this kind of testing is never easy...but look at the examples of those who did endure and the fruit of their wait.
On a personal note...I can recall many many times of walking with God through times of seemingly endless silence but looking back I can see His faithfulness. One example of His silence is when we were facing an extremely delicate brain surgery with our daughter. Her seizures had become debilatating and we were offered this surgery as the only avenue for her recovery. They would be taking the entire left hemisphere of her brain which we were told was only scar tissue at that point. She had been left this way since birth in which she had suffered a terribly massive stroke and it had affected the entire left lobe. We were told the only recovery would be to remove this scar tissue. I knew that many many prayers had led us there seeking answers for her recovery and yet facing this surgery left me reeling inside. I can remember laying all night on the floor of the hotel begging God to please just heal her and let us go home....but there was only silence. I knew the answer was the surgery. In the early hours of the next morning my prayers had changed knowing that the surgery was the healing we had been asking for and I prayed for strength and comfort for her as she faced another major surgery and recovery. It was a very difficult recovery but...in the end she went from having up to twenty seizures a day besides the grand mal seizures which were bigger and more severe to not having one seizure since surgery in over sixteen years. God's ways are most definitely not ours but in the end He is God and He knows exactly what He is working out in our lives but we must trust Him. I am so thankful for the many examples in scripture that we have to cling to and to help show us the way to walk.
Keep trusting Him even in the silence ~ the answer is on the way and we have the promise that someday we will know even as we are known. (Romans 8:28)