When God is silent

When Tony and I moved here to the States in 1987, probably the toughest part of our lives so far at a spiritual level kicked in. Why? God became silent. He stopped talking to us.

Back in the UK, nearly everything had gone well. It was relatively easy to know what God was saying. In fact, when he spoke to us about moving to Texas, his leading was so clear that we sold our house and moved here, knowing no one. We felt a bit like Abraham, but were confident he would continue to lead us clearly.

And then silence.

Nothing. Nada

No clear direction.

It wasn’t so much the little things. It was that clear sense of direction, knowing we were following him, in the center of his will, that was missing.

To start with, we confessed every sin, real or imaginary, that we could think of. After all, we reasoned, sin separates us from God.

Still nothing.

We tried everything. We had faith, we prayed against the enemy.

Then I got angry with God. How could he bring us here and then drop us? Needless to say that didn’t work either.

Finally, I came to the place where I realized my total dependence on him. If God chose to leave me on the shelf and never to use me again, that was his prerogative. He is the potter, I’m mere clay in his hands.

A number of things died at that point–any desire for limelight, any sense of entitlement, any hankering to be anything beyond ordinary.

It was then, after nine years of God’s kind of seminary on the backside of the desert, his training in the school of wilderness experience, that, God, in his mercy, started speaking again.

 Photo Credit: Vu Bui via Compfight cc

  • unkleE

    Now, after the event, do you have any ideas why?

    • It’sAboutAWedding!

      After the LORD started speaking with me again, He showed me that just like a guy & girl may like each other, but one is in love and wants there to be a wedding, but isn’t sure if the other feels the same way, they may push the other away, seeing if they will go away, or instead if will they pursue them and not be able to do without them. The LORD is doing the same thing and he wants us to get over the insult and pursue Him.

      • felicitydale

        That’s a great picture

  • felicitydale

    UnkleE, I think it was God’s training school for us. I don’t think he could have entrusted us with some of the things we have seen since then without it. Now, whenever I hear of people going through really tough times, I often think to myself, “Aha! God is training some more leaders.”

  • wes

    God asked me to wait and trust him and at the end of that time all would make sense. A great deal made sense and then my wife chose to become a witch and leave the faith….then silence from God for a year met with some stirring in my soul about seasons. Then more silence despair disapointments, downward spiral….I have nothing left and now questioning it all together… :(

    • Ragat Ewers

      Hey Wes, hang on in there mate. Sometimes things can get really hard. I’ve had a very bumpy ride myself but one thing I’ve realised over the years is that much of the painful stuff very rarely makes sense at the time or while the pain is relatively fresh. It is only some time later when I look back that I see God’s hand so unmistakeably in it all. After all He’s the only one who sees the big picture, we just get glimpses now and again (sometimes). To tell you the truth I’ve found it quite discouraging at times to listen to other Christian’s talking about how He guides almost every breath of theirs. I’ve never been like that and this has led to times of discouragement… Mate, the thing that really matters is that you cling to God and trust him through it all, even if you find you’re hanging on by your fingernails at times. Sometimes that is so hard and feels so bad but, Just keep your eyes on Him and I’m telling you, at some point the sun will rise and you’ll see that actually He was with you all along. It’s like James says at the beginning of his letter about the testing of our faith producing perseverance. It also takes us into new places with God but unfortunately as we all know there’s no gain without the pain and sometimes the pain goes on a lot longer than we expected. One thing that has really transformed my relationship with God over the past year is that I’ve spent a lot of time in worship just on my own in my quiet time. I’ve put together 1 hour mix tapes of the most intimate worship songs and I just go into my quiet time and play the tape. I just rest there, no prayer list, no struggling, no straining to feel something. I just rest, and allow all the crap to just float away in his presence. Most times I can’t help but worship. Sometimes I feel his presence so deeply. Most times, not so much! ha ha ha… No matter Whether you feel His presence or not, He is there. I think it’s psalm 84 isn’t it? that says wherever we go, even if we descend into the pit of hell his presence is there with us – this is my testimony – and yours!. Hang on in there. Just rest in Him and wait for the sun to rise. I realise I’ve waffled on a bit but… One last thing I just wanted to say was that I read a book a couple of years ago that transformed my thinking. It’s a really old book, written in the 1800′s. It’s called ‘the Christian’s secret to a happy life’ by Hannah Whittal Smith. You can download free versions from the net. It’s on oldey worldey English but is a brilliant book. There is a modern version called ‘the christian’s secret to a happy life for today’. Hannah knew a lot about suffering – She was slandered by the church, 3 of her children died at different times and her husband developed mental health problems while her marriage went down the pan. For me I think that this qualifies her to talk about the secret of a happy Christian walk. Through it all she discovered a depth of God’s love that you could never discover any other way.
      -

      • wes

        Thank you for the encouragement. Every lil word counts. Ive been hearing today about acceptance vs. Resignation. Learning to accept the hell you have been dealt with is a hard pillto swallow. Im just tired and really beginning to not care anymore. I dont want that but im not sure how to get there.

        • Ragat Ewers

          mate, just hang on and keep your eyes on Jesus as much as you have strength to. I know it sounds a bit glib and clichéd but it’s the truth. That’s all you need to do and I know that sometimes it takes every last bit of strength and resolve but, like I said before the sun will rise on this season of your life.- I know it to be true. You really don’t have to do anything more than hang on. Our Father has got this, whatever it may look like and feel like at the moment.

        • Ross

          G’day Wes, I’m hearing you mate. Ragat’s onto it too, hang in there. The whole “…all things work together…” can be a bit patronising, huh. It’s well intentioned but not very understanding. Someone once told me, “if you’re going through hell, don’t stop!” Turned out to be good advice! If you can, try to remember it’s the hottest furnace that produces the finest gold. God’s not gonna drop you, He’s got too much invested in someone He loves! You!

    • felicitydale

      Great responses to Wes, Ragat and Ross. Much wisdom! Thank you for sharing. I loved Hannah Whitall Smith’s book too.

      When I hear stories like these, I’m often encouraged because I believe God uses this kind of experience as his training ground for leadership (servanthood). God can really use someone who has come to an end of their own resources and , like Job can say (and mean) “even though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” When we’ve come to an end of ourselves, our desire to be anything special, God molds our lives into the vessel he wants us to be.

      It’s not easy (understatement) but it is incredibly character building.

  • Miguel O Gonzalez M

    Thank you my sister. Just now im felling exactly the same way. I will keep waiting in Him. This post encourage me.

    • felicitydale

      Thanks Miguel. A blessing to know anything I’ve written is a help to someone else.

  • Marsha Farmer

    :) Love this story…
    Xx

  • Kenneth Dawson

    I go along with you all the way..I hate it when god goes silent but he does..but the good thing about it is that you know it’s not permanent so you learn to wait.

  • Henry Gomez

    Amazing journey. I don’t have anything else I can say. How frightening it must have been, when we depend so much on hearing his voice. Thanks for sharing this.

  • jolie

    Thanks Felicity, Yes only trust him no matter what….always comes back to me. We are at that stage, just finished a 9 year ministry in a church, felt called out, off on LSL and waiting on the Lord for his guidance for the next chapter of our lives. It’s all faith steps

    • felicitydale

      I pray the Lord guides you clearly.

  • http://www.pamhogeweide.com/ pamhogeweide

    I totally get this! For me, it was when I heard a distinct directive to “unplug from every ministry you are in.” I thought that a sabbatical would lead me to deep reflection and renewed vision to hop back into robust ministry as I had maintained for so many years. And then, in the midst of obeying God to Not Do A Thing, his presence withdraws and his voice quiets. What the….? It took a long while to discover the beauty and wisdom of the wilderness, that it is actually affirming when you learn that you are in the flow of God without obvious guidance and sign posts. It is walking by faith and hearing by faith that which we no longer see or hear. Man! It caught me off guard for I had been taught that the heart that cannot hear God is not right with God.

    I am forever grateful for the Spirit puling me out of the frenzy of ministry that I was living. I have made many new companions in the wilderness. More than that, I have discovered the beautiful, gracious ever present nature of God in the quiet, ordinary spaces of ordinary living. I was looking for so long in the glam and glitz of ministry for the BIG presence of God with BIG theatrical manifestations. Instead, there is God all along in the quietest corner of the simplest places with the most average of everyday people. So that’s where I hang out, too.

    • felicitydale

      Pam, that’s beautiful. That’s an incredible peace in knowing you are just ordinary, and don’t have to make an effort beyond being faithful.

  • It’sAboutAWedding!

    This article is SO needed in the Body of Christ. I went through the silence, and had no idea why. I asked, “LORD, why don’t you want to spend time with me any more? Whatever I did wrong, I ask forgiveness, just let me know what I did.” I couldn’t pray enough or fast enough for the LORD to talk to me. Eventually, like you, the LORD brought me to a place of only wanting/needing Him. I thought I was there prior, but it’s different after going through a wilderness experience; instead of needing a thick Presence of the LORD, now I can sense even a tiny bit of moisture of the LORD Presence!

    • felicitydale

      That’s a great response–and thank you for sharing. I’m aware of a number of people who have come out the other side of a wilderness experience. None of us would willingly go through it again, but for all of us, the fruit of that time has been worth the agony of it.