We are told, “You do not have because you do not ask” in James 4:2, yet we ask still do not receive. We see the prosperity of the worldly, yet we experience the struggles of the godly. We are taught that God will never leave or forsake us in Hebrews 13:5, yet we may not even be sure He is hearing our prayers because of the dark silence.
Oftentimes during these seasons we may doubt God and His promises and ponder our own salvation. However, though our concerns in life may have some legitimacy, God is looking at our situations from His own perspective which we do not have the privilege of seeing. Yet we can view our circumstances through His lenses based on principles found in Scripture of why God may be silent in our times of need.
God is Opening Doors We Cannot See
From a young age, I had two concerns I brought to God frequently in prayer: a wife and a career. I was too young to understand the significance of either, but I knew they were important to have God’s blessing on. As the years progressed I saw my friends and acquaintances sharing their life goals, and before long we were in college and they were perusing them. I still felt I was floating along with no target to strive for, which proved very discouraging. I wondered why many people I knew, who were open about Christianity being more of a preference than a lifestyle in their life, were succeeding while I was still in the dark. Yet after more than half a decade of praying, God began opening doors for me in divine ways I could have never dreamt. In that transition I was also introduced to a phenomenal woman who would soon be my wife.
The connections God established made others view my situation in awe.
In hindsight, I am thankful for those times of silence and that God did not reveal His plans to me until the time was right. If He had, I would have been the one seeking out the connections and circumstances only He could have accomplished. Consequently, I would have messed up what God had planned. If you are in the dark, trust that God is working in ways you cannot see. Oftentimes, the longer we wait, the greater the reward. We look at the present in natural terms while God sees it in supernatural ways.
God is Testing Our Faithfulness
When prosperity flows, one can easily thank God for the blessings. Yet when our comfort is taken, our response shows the true stability of our faith. Job is perhaps the most profound example we have of this in the Bible. In an effort to have him denounce God, Satan took nearly everything save his life and wife. But even so, Job loathed his life and his wife encouraged him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9), not much of an encouragement. Yet during his tribulation, he stood fast and blessed God. When the trial was over Job was blessed more abundantly than he prior to his crisis. Relating this to our discussion of silence, God may be testing us to see how we respond when God may not be responding to us. He may also use our response to be an example to others going through difficult times. But nonetheless, God will answer us when He knows is best and will give a more profound response than we may have expected.
We Need to Repent
Perhaps the most sinister thought in this matter is that we are not hearing from God because we have let sin enter our lives which we need to rid before God will bless us. Anything that comes between God and us will keep us from drawing closer to Him. Because God wants us to freely come to Him, He will not compete with idols in our life.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” When Israel went to fight against Ai they believed the victory was easy. Ai’s army was small in proportion to Israel’s and they had little to fear. Yet when Israel was crushed by this small group they felt hopeless.
They prayed and fasted asking why God allowed such a humiliating defeat. God eventually answered saying He had withdrawn His presence from them because of idolatry in their midst. Before He would bless them, they had to give God His rightful place. Once they did, they were victorious (Joshua 7). The same is true for us. If we want God’s blessing, we must give Him His rightful place in our lives. We should do a self-examination by comparing what we do and allow into our life to what the apostle Paul lists as profitable in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, etc...”
This is not an exhaustive list, but rather some reasons for why God may be silent in our lives and how we can respond to it. Even if God is silent to us, we know He will never leave us or let us wander alone. Moreover, we should stand steadfast knowing God has a will and purpose for us. As someone once said, God will never test your faithfulness without showing you His own.