What do you do when God is silent?

What do you do when God is silent_

(Seemingly) Silent Saturday.

The day between the crucifixion and the resurrection. The day the disciples were in the middle of shock, bewilderment, discouragement and (I imagine) asking all kinds of questions.

Had we been wrong about Jesus after all? Maybe He wasn’t the Messiah.

What about all the miracles?

What about all the things He taught us?

We’ve all been there. We’ve experienced heart wrenching disappointments and wondered if God was aware or listening. And if so, why wasn’t He saying anything?! There are nights I’ve laid in bed so distraught and undone that the only prayer I could whisper was, “Please, God. Help.” The only response was the sound of my own heartbeat echoing in my ears.

What do we do then when God is silent? When we’ve prayed and there seems to be nothing but crickets on the other end of the line.

As I’ve meditated on Psalm 22, I feel like we can find some guidance there. Upon reading the psalm, you will quickly see that David was writing from a place of deep pain and walking through a difficult trial.  This psalm is full of prophetic language. In fact there are 33 prophesies found in it that would be fulfilled when Jesus was on the cross.

In Psalm 22 we find Jesus’ last words in the very first verse (1) and last verse (31). (I will be quoting from the Passion Translation throughout this post.)

“God, my God! Why would you abandon me now?”

“It is finished.” Or as Mark 27:50 describes it, “Jesus passionately cried out” these words with His last breath.

It sounds like Jesus is asking, “Where are you God?” Sounds like a familiar prayer. One I may or may not have prayed myself 967 times. Give or take a few.

But it’s Psalm 22:2 that words it so well:

Why do you remain distant, refusing to answer my tearful cries in the day and my desperate cries for your help in the night? I can’t stop sobbing. Where are you, my God?

There are times God feels silent. When that happens what do we do? Well, here’s some of my thoughts.

  1. Bring God a song.

Right after asking God where He is David continues in verse 3 by saying:

Yet I know that you are most holy; it’s indisputable. You are God-Enthroned, surrounded with songs, living among the shouts of praise of your princely people. (or common queens as the case may be 😉 )

David goes back to the basics. Even if God is silent, He is still holy and because He is holy it demands a worshipful response on my part. Not exactly my first response, to be honest. When I’m discouraged the last thing I want to do is worship and praise. Why is praise important when God feels silent? Simply put, I think it just keeps things in perspective for us.

2.  Remember His faithfulness.

In Psalm 22:9 & 10 David recounts how God has cared for him since the moment he was born! This reminder brings him to this conclusion at the end of verse 10:

I’ve trusted in you and you’ve always been my God.

You can trust the character of God….even when He’s silent. Everything you know about Him is still true. Go back and remember how He’s come through for you before. Maybe crack open an old journal (that’s what I like to do) and read stories of God answering your prayers and getting you through hard times. If He’s done it before, you can trust Him to do it again.

3. Know He is there.

In 2006, I experienced the worst pain I have ever gone through. In that season, I remember one night in particular where my best friend sat down on the couch next to me and didn’t say a word. She didn’t attempt to give me words of comfort or explain why this horrible loss had happened. All she did was sit silently next to me.

It was a beautiful act of love and all the comfort I needed because I knew she was there.

God may be silent, but I promise you He is there.

Psalm 22: 24 reads,

For He has not despised my cries of deep despair. He’s my first responder to my sufferings, and He didn’t look the other way when I was in pain. He was there all the time, listening to the song of the afflicted. 

I don’t think these are the only things we can do when God feels silent. One of the things I do often is reach out to a trusted friend who I know will immediately start praying on my behalf. She’s sent me countless verses to encourage me or songs to worship to on YouTube.

Sometimes (dare I say, oftentimes) we need people on this journey. Safe people you can go to and share your questions and hurts and know they won’t judge you or use those things as weapons against you. Those kinds of people are diamond friends. You’ll only have a few, but they are extremely precious.

If God feels silent in your life right now know that silent Saturday isn’t the end of this story. Sunday is coming!

 

 

 

 

 

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