Forget the formulas. God deals with each person uniquely, and we can’t always answer the why’s to our own satisfaction. Here are some reasons you won’t find why God is silent.
1. He’s Too Busy
God doesn’t need call waiting, and His line is never busy. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things….” Multi-tasking is no problem for God, because He’s also omnipresent. He can be everywhere, anywhere, at all times.
2. He’s Too Big
Meaning what? We’re too small and insignificant? In reality, we probably imagine a God who is too small, not too big. But in terms of how God really feels about us, read Genesis 1:27 again. We were made in His image!
I’ve always been amazed that when God passed by and allowed Moses to view a small part of His glory, these are the words God used to describe Himself: “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness and truth” (Exodus 34:6 NASB). Does that sound like a God who is too big or too busy?
3. He’s Too Tired
Doesn’t God have more important things to deal with than our petty concerns? After all, He has a world to take care of–wars, freaky storms, fighting evil–and billions of other people to take care of. We serve a God who is sovereign. He never worries, is never caught off guard, and is always in control. He has no needs. He doesn’t even need us (Acts 17:24-25). But He wants us, and He loves us (John 3:16).
We are His work–and His workmanship! Would a God who has no needs and who requires no sleep (Psalm 121:4) be too tired to care or to listen to His children? To me, that will always remain one of the biggest mysteries I know: that a Holy, righteous God would love–and send His own son to die for someone like me!
Why Is God Silent?
So if those aren’t the reasons why God is silent, what are the reasons? The only way I know to even begin to answer that is to see how God has responded in Scripture. Remember, there are some questions we will never adequately answer. This is one of them.
God May Be Silent…
1. Because He Has Already Answered in His Word.
In some cases, He may be waiting on you to believe His promise or act on His written Word. “The Word is near you–in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith” (Romans 10:8 NASB). The principles regarding justice, love, morality, and other issues are clear and need no further instructions. Warning: Interpret Scripture carefully, and make sure you are not “proof-texting,” where you try to pull a Scripture truth out of context to rationalize or prove something which God never intended. We can all be guilty of that at times.
2. Because Fellowship Has Been Broken
God could be silent because we have broken fellowship with Him. Isaiah 59:2 (NLT) says, “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” I remember a painful time earlier in my life when I thought my way was surely better than God’s way. The result was worse than any “icy treatment” or withdrawal of affection from a human parent.
The silence grew; His Word brought no understanding. It was like God placed a temporary veil over my eyes and heart. Thankfully God’s Spirit still worked silently behind the scenes until I renewed fellowship with Him again. God will always hear a prayer of repentance. But if we insist on “cherishing sin” (Psalm 66:18, NIV,) we may experience a painful hush from heaven. Thank God for His promise of I John 1: 9, NIV: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
The same is true of a nation that has forgotten or turned their backs on God. Instead of blessing, that nation may find silence, as well as discipline. While God’s grace and mercy is readily available, nations often choose not to pursue Him.
Jesus’s own Son experienced God’s silence as He hung on a Roman cross to die. But it was our sin that caused the silence, not Jesus’. He had no sin. When Jesus cried, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34, NIV), God knew the answer. So did Jesus. But the quiet only lasted three days. Jesus’ obedience to death, followed by His resurrection, opened up Heaven’s voice forever: “He is Risen! He is risen, indeed!”
3. Because We’re Asking for the Wrong Thing or Reason
What are we asking God for? James 4:3 says we may not receive (or hear an answer from God) if we’re asking God with wrong motives, selfishly. Examine your reasons. Is it possible to ask for your mate’s salvation with wrong motives? Possibly, if your prime reason (though it could be an unconscious one) is to make your life much easier with a Christian spouse, rather than simply wanting God’s best for your partner: eternal salvation. Ask purely because apart from Christ, we would all face separation from God.
If we’re asking for things that are not in His Sovereign will–things He’s made clear in His Word that are against His moral laws, then why would we expect Him to answer and provide that?
4. Because the Answer Is Still Coming
In Daniel 10, Daniel waited three weeks for God to answer. When He did, an angel revealed the reason to Daniel. God had already sent His answer the moment He heard Daniel, but the angel had been detoured by spiritual warfare in the heavens for twenty-one days. He enlisted Michael, one of the chief “princes,” to help. If you know what you are asking for is God’s will, keep on praying, believing, and waiting. God may have already spoken, but there could be a battle going on between good and evil to prevent that answer from arriving until later.
5. Because God Wants to Grow Your Faith and Depend on Him
God could be silent because He wants to grow your faith so that you will keep on praying and not give up. He wants to increase your dependency on Him. In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable about a woman who kept bothering an uncaring judge about getting justice for her from her adversary. The woman wouldn’t quit, so the judge finally agreed to help her.
Jesus explained the parable in his summary statements: “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8, NIV)
God will always do His part. He doesn’t play hide and seek. Jesus is always pursuing us, whispering to our hearts, giving us wisdom, leading us on the right path. He wants us to experience His best, so sometimes He may delay His answer because He knows perfect timing is critical.
Sometimes His silence may not be silence at all. One way or another God has spoken, but for some reason we may seem unable to discern His answer at the time. May I encourage you to keep seeking; keep knocking; keep asking, but most of all, keep believing?
What about our faith? Will we do our part? I truly believe that we may not experience God’s complete answers regarding some issues this side of heaven. But in the end, God will right all wrongs. Then, His voice will ring loud and clear, to the just and to the unjust. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess His Lordship at that time. And maybe then, all our “why’s” will be answered.
Or maybe not. Perhaps by then, it will be enough to join in with other believers, praising the One we will hear clearly. When the Lord comes back again, we will see; we will know; we will hear; and we will celebrate the One who has been so faithful to us from the very beginning.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John,saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4, NIV).