Part 4: Doubt In The Face Of God’s Silence

 

Unanswered prayer. Disappointed hope. The anguish of a wrestling with One whose hand we cannot force.

How fitting that I should be writing about this when my husband has been out of work for quite some time, despite prolonged prayer. When we’ve pounded every door, overturned every rock, exhausted every option, and chased every rabbit all the way down the hole.

But still, I have to ask, is God ever really silent?

Let’s consider some examples from Scripture:

  • There were 400 years of “silence” as the Israelites labored under bondage in Egypt —

—while God multiplied His people in preparation for the nation they would become.

  • There were centuries of “silence” following the death of the last Old Testament prophet —

—while God paved the way for our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • And there was “year after year” of “silence” for a barren woman named, Hannah who languished under the eye of an apparently impassive God —

—who had already planned her child, Samuel who would step onto history’s pages at the perfect time as a prophet to lead God’s people and mentor Israel’s first king.

These examples lead me to a conclusion: Some of the most powerful works of God are preceded by a period of “silence.Some of the most powerful works of God are preceded by a period of silence. Click To Tweet

Listen to what Charles Spurgeon says about the subject:

“There are ways of God, in dealing with the human race, which are very perplexing to the judgment of such poor mortals as we are. We try to study a piece of history; and — especially if is a short piece of history,  — it appears to us all tangled and confused.  A further research over a longer period will often explain what could not be understood in the shorter range of vision…”

What encouragement for our own “silent” seasons to hold onto faith! So once again, let’s walk down the path to find freedom from doubting God:

Three steps to overcome doubt when God is “silent”

Photo by Austin Neall

  • Anchor in God’s character. We overcome doubt when we understand God’s faithful character. God is faithful in every way. That means we can trust Him and His timing, for it is tailored to fulfill His plan for our life. Psalm 31:14-15 says, “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands…”

 

  • Cling to God’s Word and Claim His Promises. We overcome doubt when we trust God is working even when we can’t see it. I Peter 1:8 says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” And John 5:14 further assures us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

 

  • Remember His faithfulness. We overcome doubt when we tune our hearts to God’s voice all around usThough He may not engage on the issue we want Him to, still, He engages with usThrough Scripture. Through nature. Through a Sunday sermon, a friend, an unexpected joy. Psalm 29:4 says, “The voice of the LORD is powerful…”  and will break through doubt when we learn to recognize it.

God isn’t obligated to speak to us, yet He does, bringing the perfect answer at the perfect time. And though sometimes He veils His plan for us, we can be confident He is moving because silence is not stillness.

Even now He plans. Prepares. Works, both for our good and the benefit of others, with purposes greater than anything we can imagine.

 

What helps you during times when God seems silent?

 

 

Feature photo courtesy of David Zawila

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Comments 6

  1. Bethany,

    I was on twitter this morning and clicked onto your link, not the first time. But I had been praying and crying last night about the same things you have posted here. Feeling like I know God hears me, but why am I not getting answers? What do I need to do that I haven’t done? However, the word you shared has encouraged me so much. Waiting and praying for my mother that is plagued with Alzheimer’s is tough. I will refuse to give up or give in, no matter how long the wait seems to be.

    1. Deborah, how my heart goes out to you! And I think of how many times God has stripped me of my comfortable theology–down to the bare bones of faith–just so He could use the comfort He provided for me to comfort or encourage someone in need. Dear sisters like you make it worth it! I’m praying for you and your sweet mom.

      1. Bethany,

        Amen, thank you so much. I will be praying for you and your family as well. Eph. 6:18. God bless you, Bethany!

  2. Wonderful my friend..thanks for sharing these truths….

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