What to do When God Seems Silent
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This isn’t a story of a miraculous ending where God granted my wish and in the end everything turned out exactly like I wanted.
No. Not at all.
Instead, it’s a story of growth and the way God used a trial to increase my faith.
Even when I didn’t want Him to.
When I wanted Him to change the circumstances and forget about changing me into the image of Christ. (Romans 8:28-29)
I Wondered Does God Even Hear Me?
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A Believer of 35 years.
I’ve never known anything but trusting God through every trial and circumstance. I’ve never struggled with trusting Him and accepting His will even when I don’t like it hasn’t been a struggle for me.
I’ve never questioned God.
You might say that even though I thought I was a mature believer, I had some major growth that still needed to take place. (I’m sure I still have more to go!)
That was revealed to me in the recent circumstance of a long, painful, and drawn out sickness that struck our family.
Where are You God, and Why Aren’t You Listening?
Don’t You even care?
My angry heart cried out to (at) the God I love. The God I’ve served my whole life. The only One I’ve never questioned.
And yet the silence mocked me.
Two of my kids cried out in uncontrollable pain all throughout the day as the result of an unusual virus that decided to take root in our house.
This virus of unknown origin turned my babies, six and nine years old, into writhing, helpless little human beings who were subjected to torture.
Painful, unrelentless torture.
Nothing my husband or I did could or would stop the pain.
Every mother’s nightmare – my babies crying out, “Mommy, it hurts.” “I can’t breathe.” “Please help me.” As they gripped their chests and ribs and rolled on the floor with wide eyes, begging me to make it stop.
And I couldn’t.
My Faith Said to Pray
The logical answer to a helpless estate.
I’ll get on my knees, cry out to God, beg Him for mercy and He will answer.
Of course He’ll listen. He’s God and He knows we’re in the middle of a troubling situation. Why wouldn’t He answer?
So I prayed.
Day One: I prayed and thanked God for His mercies and the ability to come before Him and thanked Him for being the Great Healer. And then, like any mom would, I asked Him to heal my babies. To take away the pain.
I was confident that God would respond swiftly to rescue me and my brood and get us back on our feet by tomorrow morning.
Not a difficult request.
After all, I wasn’t asking for world peace or a million dollars. Just healing and comfort for my little ones.
A noble request.
But Nothing Changed
The following day, nothing had improved.
In fact, things were worse. The pain was merciless and the kids were inconsolable. My heart was a mess and I began to wonder.
Does God Even Hear Me?
My Christian heritage forced me to place that blasphemous thought to the back of my mind.
So I prayed some more. Yet nothing changed.
Where Was God and Why Wouldn’t He Answer Me?
Twenty-one days passed and still the pain persisted.
Twenty-one days of comforting, massaging, rubbing with oils, trying every homeopathic remedy in the book.
And twenty-one days of crying out to God for mercy on my children’s behalf.
Nothing. No change.
God didn’t answer. The pain remained and my heart became more hardened.
Thankfully, my husband never wavered in his faith.
“God hears us,” he comforted. “And He’s here. Present in our trouble.”
“Where are His mercies?” I begged for an answer.
“His mercies are here with us, in the moments of reprieve from the pain,” my sweet husband encouraged.
“His mercies are present in the way He is sustaining us through this storm.”
“In the way He’s strengthening our faith to trust Him even when He’s silent.”
I Wasn’t Convinced
Doubtful, I listened to my husband, knowing in my heart that he was right, but seeing evidence that appeared otherwise.
Since I’ve trusted my husband through almost 20 years of marriage, I borrowed from his faith and let it carry me as I struggled to believe that God was listening. (I will say that sleep deprivation added an enormous level of difficulty as, at times, I couldn’t even think straight from night after night with no sleep.)
I wasn’t convinced, but long ago, I heard a phrase that said, “Fake it til you make it.”
And so even though my heart struggled, that’s what I did:
I prayed and kept trusting, all the while renouncing feelings of doubt and anger. Frustrated as I waited for God to respond to my request to remove this nightmare from us.
Then Finally Something Changed
This isn’t the part of the story where I tell you that once I surrendered, God healed my kids and we all lived happily ever after.
In fact, as I write this article, my kids are still struggling with bouts of pain. Some periods have still been very severe. Although, they are coming with less frequency, thankfully.
My situation didn’t change at all.
But Finally, God Changed My Heart
After my fourth Sunday staying home with my kids from church, and in my desperation for Spiritual feeding, I knew I needed to do something to fill my heart.
My husband is a pastor, and therefore had to be in church. Which left me at home for the morning, caring for the kids, without his support.
Since I hardly had time to feed myself as I cared for the kids, spending quiet time in the Word, wasn’t really happening.
And yet spending quiet time with God was the one thing I needed, more than I needed Him to heal my babies.
On a whim, I decided to download the she reads truth devoltional app and pick something random to read, since my heart or mind weren’t really focused on what I needed to do.
Psalm 124 – The Balm That My Heart Needed
True to God’s all loving character, He led me directly to the Song of Ascent in Psalm 124 that talks about God being our protector.
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—
let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
God Did Hear Me
Tears poured down my cheeks as I realized that even though I had yelled at God, He was still gracious enough to send me His love song.
Through Psalm 124 and the devotional that I was reading, I realized that if it weren’t for God being present through the excruciating trial our family has just gone through, then my kids would have been eaten up alive by the virus, my heart would have been in shambles, and worst of all, my faith would have stayed stagnant.
God Heard Me All Throughout My Trial
God allowed me to see that He has been present the entire time.
And He does hear me.
But most of all, He cares.
Why didn’t He take a way the virus and heal my babies when I begged him?
That, I do not know.
But I do know that Scripture says that He doesn’t waste our tears, (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Galatians 4:19) and that His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Who am I to question almighty God (Romans 9:20)?
The Trials Are For My Own Good
When He allows a trial, with just the right amount of pressure and struggle, customized to my needs, in order to make me grow and be conformed to the image of His Son, (Romans 8:28-29) He’s not being silent.
He’s showing me that He loves me enough to change me.
He didn’t allow me to stay in my sorry state, questioning Him (and I didn’t even know I had those thoughts in my heart.)
Instead, He allowed the ugliness in me to be revealed and He changed me.
Praise God! He changed me!
My Friend, Are You Struggling?
Are you in a season of struggling? Do you wonder if God even hears you? Has he seemed silent? Distant?
The pain that my family suffered through recently, pales in comparison to what others may be experiencing; the loss of a loved one, a dreaded diagnosis, financial ruin, and the list goes on.
But through the struggle, God is not silent.
He loves you and He cares.
Cry out to Him and even if He seems slow to answer, remember that He is giving grace upon grace (John 1:16) and mercy upon mercy.
Don’t stop trusting Him!
A Book That Might Help You
Recently, before this crazy virus hit our house, my husband and I started reading, Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name
It really has the neatest twist on prayer. Maybe if I had read the book before the trial??! 🙂
How about you? Have you ever asked, Does God even hear me? Have you struggled when He seems silent? Comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Before You Go:
I have found that the times I feel that God is most silent, I can honestly say have been when I have neglected to be in His Word. I also found it is a common problem amongst women. They want to spend time with God but don’t know how, or where to start.
In order to help, I created The Quiet Time Kit. You can read all about it here.
If this post encouraged you in any way, or you found it helpful, would you please share it? Thank you!
Does God Even Hear Me? Faith for Unanswered Prayer