Sometimes we struggle God's silence. We feel that our prayers are going unheard and we question whether God has turned his back on us. Even the Psalmist begins Psalm 109 with these words: “Be not silent, O God of my praise!” We long to hear the voice of God. When we are focused on challenges they seem to grow before our eyes and God seems small and distant by comparison. So what should we do when God seems silent?
Spend time in prayer to draw closer to the heart of God. In our busyness, we can get overwhelmed with life and feel like God is absent from our struggles. Often this can be because we have not brought our concerns before God but instead have spent time worrying about the challenges that lie ahead. Times of challenge may be a way that God is drawing us to rely more fully on him.
Sometimes our perception of God as distant or silent has much more to do with where our feet have wandered. When we wander from a path of obedience it creates distance between us and our holy God. Pray to God and ask him to search your heart and remove any sin that interferes with your relationship with God. God honors a contrite heart and draws us back into fellowship with God.
God speaks in his word. The scriptures are his messages sent to guide our lives, yet far too often we set them aside and discount their relevance. How can writings from so long ago still speak to our struggles today? The God of Abraham is still our God today, and scripture shows us more clearly the heart of God and his plan for his people. When you long to hear God's voice, God speaks to us through his word. His Holy Spirit within us reminds us of God’s truth so that we hear God’s leading.
Our amazing Creator has revealed himself through everything that he has made. We can see God’s fingerprints throughout the wonders of this world. Taking time to walk through the woods or stroll down the beach reconnects us with God’s creation and reminds us of the grandeur of the God who spoke all those things into being. Getting away from the noise and static of daily life for a walk gives you not only some peace to listen but immerses you in some of God's revelation of himself. Our Creator’s voice is not silent, it is speaking through all that he has made.
When we worry about what we don't have, we can be out of touch with all of the blessings that God is showering down all around us already. Focus on the blessings that you do have. Did you wake up today? Were you able to breathe and think? Was the sun still in the sky? Was God’s word still true? Chances are that there were many reasons to give thanks that you might not have fully appreciated. A heart that is looking intently for all the blessings will hear the echo of the giver of all good gifts.
How much of life do we take for granted as something that we deserve or feel entitled to have? Dietrich Bonhoeffer commented “We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” What if we woke up tomorrow with only the things that we thanked God for today? How much would we lose over night? Our families? Our homes? Our jobs? Our friendships? God’s word? Our life and health? The truth is that we have been richly blessed even if we do not have everything that we desire, so why are we not living more grateful lives. Gratitude primes our hearts to hear the voice of God.
God promises that he will never leave us or forsake us. He promises that nothing can separate us from his love. God promises to be our refuge and our strength and an ever present help in trouble. This are just a few of the promises that we discover in scripture. Find a verse that connects with the struggle that you are experiencing and let that verse strengthen you and give you encouragement.
God promises in Jeremiah 29, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Seek God and you will find him faithful to his promises.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Dr. Robert Ritzema