When God is Silent

Sometimes God can seem very quiet and distant. We sometimes feel we are all alone and that God is not hearing our prayers.

I speak to people often about this need. What can you do when God seems distant?

I’m sure there will be detailed answers to this question in many theological discussions. I also feel they will be filled with insight and blessings, but I want to give you some simple steps to take when God seems far away.

First, determine to live in reality rather than in your feelings. It’s very difficult not to let your feelings overwhelm you. Persecution, fatigue, and discouragement can rob us of the sure knowledge of the presence of God in our lives. When this happens, feelings have taken control and faith, trust, and reality take a backseat.

Even the greatest of the saints can get caught up in destructive feelings.

Take the case of John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit came upon John in the womb. John heard the call of God in his life and followed obediently. He preached in the wilderness calling the people to repentance. John even accurately described Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

How then could John begin to doubt? We know he did so because he sent messengers to Jesus asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect another?” (Matthew 11:3).

John’s understandably difficult feelings had overtaken him. These emotions and feelings blinded him to the truth.

Second, pray that God would let you see the truth.

Jesus did not defend himself before John, He simply shared the truth with the prophet: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor” (Matthew 11:4-5).

In other words, Jesus wanted John to see the truth. God still does. Pray that God would let you see truth and reality.

Third, pray simple prayers. Ask God to make Himself real to you. Tell him how you feel and ask Him to let you see the truth and reality of the situation.

Finally, stay close to Scripture, prayer, and the church. The very worst thing you can do in times of dryness is to neglect the assembling of yourselves together with the family of God (Hebrews 10:25).

More than any other time, the times when God seems silent you need the fellowship of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Gathering together as the church is an opportunity to encourage one another. Don’t miss that opportunity.

Share your need with others. Ask for their prayer support and emotional encouragement. Let the church work the works of the heavenly Father who loves and cares for us even in the difficult times.

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4 Responses

  1. Waylon,

    Dr. Robert Godfrey commented Monday that the Psalms contain by his count 173 questions asked of God. Some are so straightforward and demanding I don’t think I could be so presumptuous. They are generally two categories of question, namely Why? and How Long? How long will you be silent? Where are you? Where were you? As they are in the Psalms I think God wants us to ask. As you might have guessed I have been reading the Psalms of late.


    1. I believe God will bless your reading and will provide comfort. Sometimes, our greatest need is simply to be with God. As with other people, sometimes the greatest blessing is just to have them with us.

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