It happens to all of us. We’ve all been there — or will be there. – a time of desperation or longing when we cry out to God, “Fix this. Change this. Heal this.” And we hear nothing in response. What does it mean when God is silent in the face of our anguished pleas?
When God Is Silent , does it mean He doesn’t care, or worse, He doesn’t even exist? Absolutely not.
I’ve experienced the quiet echoes of prayers unanswered. When my mother lay in her hospital bed unconscious, doctors explained that her brain was dead and she’d never wake up. I begged God to prove them wrong. She never again responded to my voice or looked into my eyes and soon slipped away from this world permanently while God was silent.
When my daughter was just moving into her teen years and began battling serious health issues, I fasted and prayed all the time for her to be healed. There were several years of painful uncertainty while God never seemed to offer a response. Was He too busy? Didn’t He care? Was it too difficult for Him?
As Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane and asked God to change his circumstances, only to receive silence in response; I have to wonder if those same questions flitted through his mind. Even if they did, the truth won out as Jesus accepted this silence as temporary. He knew God was there and would take him through the trial. Matthew 26:39 says,
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
There can be various reasons for God’s silence. Perhaps He’s spoken, but somehow we missed His message. Perhaps He wants us to pursue a difficult path without easing the load to gain strength and stamina. Maybe He just wants us to trust Him even unto death of a loved one or even our own.
His love, mercy and power don’t exist solely when we can hear God’s voice or feel His presence. Similarly, our faith (by definition) needs to remain in tact even when difficult circumstances don’t change and we aren’t “hearing” God’s response to our pleading cries.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
Christians are quick to share stories of answered prayers and feel-good miracles, but not so verbal about times when pain and strife persisted in spite of faithful prayer.
These stories are just as important because the outcome for those who remain faithful is still victory. God will eventually let His presence be felt and His voice be heard again when the waiting is over. Only He knows why and when. What we do know is that He is suffering along with us, even in His silence.
If you are hearing echoes of your own prayers right now, don’t lose faith. Be encouraged that even in His silence God stands with you. He is teaching you, refining you and making you more grace-filled. Be assured that some day you will have a story to share of answered prayer, because the silence isn’t permanent. It’s only a pause.
In my case, I later realized that He was whispering to me all along that my mom was fine … she was stepping into His arms. And my daughter’s health crisis abated, shaping her into a more courageous and faith-filled adult.
Have you ever experienced God’s silence? Did your faith waiver? Did He ever speak up? If you’re still in a quiet place, keep listening, you’ll surely hear from Him soon. Just keep praying.