Monday, April 30, 2012


The silence of God.

Philosophers and theologians have wrestled with this issue for centuries.

Job lived with it - for awhile.

Even regular old human beings like me have had times when they've looked to the sky and been greeted with the resounding sound of...nothing.

Why is it that God seems silent sometimes - especially when we seem to need Him the most?

I know you all know the feeling.  Those times when our prayers seem to fade in an echo chamber - bouncing around in our own heads, but never going past the ceiling.

My son and I were talking about this the other day.  Evidently he's inherited the *ponder* gene - and we get into all sorts of discussions about stuff.

His life has been full of activity lately.  Lots of things going on.  Some are great - some are confusing, bewildering, frustrating.  He's talked to me lately about the difficulty of hearing God.  I have so identified and empathized with his heartfelt dismay - "I just can't hear Him..."

So, as we were catching up on stuff, I told him that from my perspective, even though God wasn't saying much, He sure was busy in his life!  And my son said this:

"Mom, it really isn't that God is silent, it's that He's not saying what I want to hear.  He's not giving me the answers I want to have."

OK, I had to laugh.

"Son, you are an honest person," I chuckled.

"Well, you know that that's the truth," he replied.

Yes, indeed I do.

What a profound insight.

So often the silence of God is *us-induced* - we have pushed the mute button on God's broadcast.

When we're watching a show on television, if we don't like it, we simply turn to another station or turn the TV off.  As *good* little Christians, we don't want to do that to God - so we just push *mute* - and wait until the program changes.

Way back in the day there used to be this saying:  "If you feel far from God, guess who moved?"

A bit simplistic maybe, but there's truth in that statement.

When God is silent, more often than not it's our fault.

Yes, I do believe that God chooses to be less verbal sometimes for His own very good reasons.

Sometimes I think God wants us to grow up.  He wants us to move past the spiritual "toddler" stage where He has to constantly pat us on the back.

Sometimes I think God has other reasons - reasons that I won't understand - just because He's God.

But this is the wonderfully amazing truth.

Even if the heavens seem silent - God is never, ever far away.

James puts it this way:  "Come close to God, and God will come close to you."

I know what he's trying to communicate here.

But more often than not, when we feel far from God, it's just exactly that - we FEEL far from God.  The FACT of the matter is that He is still right close as a breath, as near as a heartbeat.

I have a story to illustrate.

My dad and I used to ride our bikes from Arcadia to my grandparents' house in Pasadena - it was a very long bike ride for a girl of about 12...on a *me-speed* Schwinn.  My dad had a three-speed bike - and at 6'3" tall, around 210 pounds, he had a lot more *foot power* than me!

So, there was this one part of the journey when we had to cross a very busy street, and then go up a very big hill on the other side.  We always hoped we'd hit the green light so we (me) could get a "running start" on climbing that other side.

This one time, we missed the signal.  While we waited for it to change, my dad told me his strategy.

"Just pedal as fast as you can and don't stop.  And don't worry - I'll be right behind you."

Well, the signal changed and I started pedaling to save my life.  As I crossed the busy street, I looked behind me.  My dad was about 20 feet away from me, going really slow.  But I kept pedaling.  Towards the top of the hill, I got kinda scared.  I was afraid that I was too far away from my dad.  I thought he wasn't next to me anymore.

So I chanced a quick look behind.

Well, as I turned to look behind, my hands also turned the handlebars - just a little bit.  Lo and behold, my dad was right next to me, perhaps only a couple of feet away.

He plowed into me.

Bikes and limbs went flying.

Needless to say, we both arrived at my grandparents' house fairly banged up.

The lesson?

My dad had been right there next to me all the time - even though I hadn't *felt* his presence.

THAT is the truth - just the facts, ma'am.

Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross - (and not so incidentally, Jesus was the only one who ever fully suffered the silence of God) - we can have the presence of God WITHIN us every moment of every day...forever.

The cross was when God spoke quietly - and the Resurrection was when He shouted.

When He seems silent, He's busy.

When He seems silent, He's right there.

When He seems silent, open up your heart to hear what HE wants to say to you.

What is God saying to you today?  Are you listening, or have you put Him on mute?

(SIDENOTE: One of my favorite authors, Philip Yancey, wrote a wonderful book on this subject - "Disappointment With God")

Linked today with Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Fantastic!! I loved your pondering son's insight which lead you to the post. He's very right. You're right as well that silence or perceived silence doesn't equal absence or even distance. It's just silence.

    My late mentor used to sort of stare at me in silence when I wanted his "permission" to do something that he didn't want me to do. It would drive me bonkers because soon enough I would talk myself out of it. Then, he would smile and say, "Good decision." As I said, it drove me crazy, but it always worked. I never ever thought about it until this moment, but maybe that's what God is doing at times too.

    Just, hmmm...

  2. Throwing the remote away...
    Lord, open my ears...

  3. AWESOME! And SO true. Love when you say "But more often than not, when we feel far from God, it's just exactly that - we FEEL far from God. The FACT of the matter is that He is still right close as a breath, as near as a heartbeat." He has never failed me yet...even waiting right to the last possible moment to provide a way/an answer. And it ALWAYS was for my good!

    (Have missed you Sharon!)

    Hugs & love ~ Merana

  4. What a great analogy - I really did like that and so true. sandie

  5. "The cross was when God spoke quietly - and the Resurrection was when He shouted."...a big AMEN!

    Wonderful words of wisdom...again, my heart is touched...

  6. Great words and insight, Sharon! It's true God gave us our feelings, and they have their place, but we can't always trust them. Feelings don't always = truth. God does. Thank you for sharing!

  7. This is "funny" in a way Sharon because the pastor was talking about this yesterday at church in a round about way, but saying sometimes we have to make sure we have the time to listen to God and what he is saying and if we are on the go, go, go, go and not allowing time for silence (I'm so guilty of this when I'm praying, I forget to let God get in a word now and then :) I'm trying to work on silence. That was a great analogy too with your dad and you and the bikes (sure glad you guys didn't get too serioulsy hurt all those years ago!)


  8. Your son makes such a great point. We do want God to talk to us about our plan. So when silence happens, it's back to pressing into Him alone. I loved your bicycle story and it's inspiring to think He is always with us!

  9. You (and your son!) are so right! God is always near us, we just don't always hear Him. Sometimes it is because we don't want to hear what He has to say...but at other times, He has other reasons. I've experienced some of those "other reasons". I learned a long time ago, that sometimes in the silence, He speaks the loudest. I learned that during those times, He was allowing me to search for quiet myself and listen intently. It was like He was saying, "Shhhhh. Lean closer and hear me". Do you know what I mean? Great post, Sharon!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)