Hello, sweet readers! Today, I am thrilled to present a guest post from my friend and fellow writer, Kia Stephens. I had the privilege of meeting Kia this past summer at She Speaks, and wow – this amazing wife, mama, and friend has a powerful voice and is being used greatly by the Lord!
I hope her words encourage and inspire you today to remain faithful, even in those times when we’re not hearing from the Lord as we’d hoped. He is faithful, always!
What To Do When God Is Silent
As much as I hate to admit it, I have trust issues. Showing up at the most undesirable times, they’ve caused me to question my friends, my spouse, and even GPS. Generally, I’m okay as long as there is some form of communication, but it’s in the silence when I start to lose it.
You send a text but there is no response.
You called a week ago and no one calls you back.
You’re following directions but GPS stops talking.
It’s in these times when I get uncomfortable. Beginning as uneasiness, internal doubt surfaces and fear eventually joins the party. Before you know it, I’m swimming in full blown uncertainty: second guessing anyone and anything in close proximity.
But the stakes are raised when I transfer my trust issues to God. I noticed this deceitful habit in counseling while going through a 6 week curriculum. What I discovered is there is a relationship between the type of biological fathers we grew up with and how we view God.
My parents got divorced when I was just a baby and subsequently I spent little to no time with my dad. Inadvertently, I developed a view of God as being silent, distant, and uninterested in the intimate details of my life. Sure, I believed in God; but I assumed there were certain areas of my life He did not care to address.
Topping off the list would be my broken heart. Years seemed to accumulate like dust without ever seeing the changes I wanted to see in me. I questioned whether God was listening at all? I mean what type of a God would intentionally not answer our prayers?
If God was a good God who loved his children, why would he allow situations and circumstances in our lives, encourage us to pray to Him about them, and then not answer? Teetering on the edge of abandoning my faith I clung to my childlike belief in God. I reasoned God is real, but not likeable.
I began to voice my concerns publicly and thankfully, meet some opposition. The question I was forced to answer was, “Is my desire to follow God contingent on Him answering my prayers?”. My honest answer was, “Yes.”
But forcing God into this box would make Him nothing more than a genie fulfilling my every request on demand. Life has taught me, God is no one’s genie. He is not governed by the ever-changing whims of man; God is sovereign.
Following Him requires every person make peace with this truth. I had to determine whether I could follow Him even if He never answered my prayers. Acceptance of this reality helped me realize God’s actions are always purposeful, even His silence.
If God is silent, there is a reason why.
We see this on the cross.
Jesus cried out to God the Father at the epicenter of His work on earth. He had suffered immensely. He was hungry. Humiliated. Stripped of his clothing. Mocked. Beaten. Flogged. Spat and lied on. Pierced by nails. Betrayed and dying a very public and gruesome death on a cross.
One of these scenarios alone was enough to send the least attentive parent running to the aid of his child. But Christ’s communication with his heavenly Father was met with silence.
“About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).” Matthew 27: 46 (NIV)
Here the word forsaken means to abandon, desert, or leave in straits. These are not the actions of a father in relation to his son. No one expects this of a loving father, let alone God.
In the midst of Jesus’ most unbearable moments the unthinkable happened, His heavenly Father was silent. This is because the sin Christ bore in His body created a barrier between Him and God the Father..
There was no, “Hang in there; You got this champ; or I believe in you.”
And it is here in this moment I can see clearly why I was not selected to take on the sins of the world. I would have lost what is left of my mind had it been me instead of Jesus.
“I’m up here on this cross in obedience to You, and I cannot get at least one word of encouragement?” Not a very humble response for a sinner like me. Christ on the other hand responded with complete submission to the will of His Father.
Hours earlier He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22: 42 (NIV)
These words catapulted Him to his destiny and carried Him until it was completed. Though brutal and ugly, He finished. And though I cringe every time I read the account of my Savior’s final moments, I am glad it happened.
Christ demonstrated how to handle silence for all of us. He did not panic or abort his earthly mission. He resolved to finish the work of His heavenly father for my sake and yours too.
If God is seemingly silent in our lives, we can follow Christ’s example. We can rest in God’s sovereign control of everything, including our lives. We can trust that although bad things happen God is still good; this fact will never change. And we can choose to submit to His will for our lives: believing it is better than anything we could come up with.