Have you ever gone through a difficult situation and wondered where God was? Are you going through something now and you have prayed for God to remedy the situation only to no avail? Does it seem like God is nowhere to be found and you are left to fix an unfix able situation?
Sooner or later most of us will encounter situations in life that make us feel as if God has abandoned us. During these times, the natural tendency is to look inward and conclude, the reason God is not coming to my aid is because I have not been good enough. All of us can point to some flaws that we have not yet overcome. We assume, that must be the reason why God has not come to our aid.
The Israelites went through a similar situation. In Exodus chapter 16 we see the Israelites come out of Egypt for about two and half months. the realities of the wilderness began setting in. They begin to think, where are we going to find food in this desolate place? Days turned into weeks with no sign of food and no communication from God to Moses, and the situation is getting worse.
As things became more desperate, they began to murmur and grumble until one day it all came to a head. They began to accuse Moses and Aaron of bringing them into this wilderness to kill them. As we read this story we cannot help but wonder where is God in all of this? Surely God knows what is going on, so where is he?
In their story, there is an interesting phrase that caught my attention. In chapter 16:4 we read…I am about to rain bread from heaven. The Lord knew exactly what they were going through. The problem was one of timing. They looked at their situation and rationally concluded that this was hopeless. God works in fullness of time. He has a set time for everything. Even in our lives, he allows us to go through things that are hard. We ask God for deliverance, but there seems to be no answer, no guidance until the fullness of time. But in the meantime, we experience what I call the silence of God.
Many people in the Bible have experienced this silence of God:
Psalm 13:1 “How long O lord will you forget me forever?”
Psalm 42:9 “I say to God “my rock: why have you forgotten me?”
Psalm 44:24 “why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?”
This experience is one of God’s disciplines for his people. I came up with three things that God may want to accomplish by taking us through these times of silence.
- God is always with us and for us. What we miss is the sense of God’s presence and nearness, therefore we conclude that God is not here. Just as a baby goes through separation anxiety, we feel the same way when we don’t sense God’s presence. He is always here. He is trying to help us grow spiritually. Psalm 77:19 looks back at the Israelite experience in the wilderness and records…”yet your footprints were unseen…”
- God may try to wean us from our dependence on the sense of his presence and to bring us in a place where we trust in him whether we feel his presence or not.
- We human beings want to see things moving in the right direction in order to believe God. The Lord wants us to know that he does things in his own set time, even our deliverance from a bad situation. Psalm 75:2 it says…”at the set time that I appoint I will judge”.
What should we do during these times of silence?
- Keep on doing what you know you should be doing. Praying, watching, and continuing to ask even if there is no answer. Continue to seek even if you don’t find. Knowing that God will come into the picture in the fullness of time. He either delivers us from our situation or shows us the way out. We should go forward whether we sense anything or not. Our trust is in who God is, not whether we feel his presence or not.
- Don’t become obsessed with this one area to the point that you become paralyzed and unhappy until it gets fixed. As long as you are doing what you should be doing leave the matter in God’s hand. In due time, we will see God move in our behalf.
May the Lord be with all of you.