God: and His Silence

Perhaps one of the most un-preached truths about God is His silence, His not-speaking’ness.  Though, when we read the Bible through we find it’s not an uncommon theme, in-fact especially in the Psalms it’s a very common theme, for God not to speak; For the soul to long for the company of it’s God and saviour and yet to feel lonely and let down. 
This is one of the reasons why it’s not wise to only ever read verses you like! Read the Bible. Get the story. Listen to whole books at a time.  It’s a real shame if all we know about God is found in the couple of verses we like.  The Bible is more, so much more than a couple of verses we find inspirational.
I find it difficult to write about God’s silence as, to be honest, my experience is when you look for God you’ll find Him, and I think you can see the wisdom of God everywhere. You can see His stamp on your life as you get excited hearing about another soul being saved.  You can see His plan unfold as you look into history.  You can see how His way of living (Christ-centered life) simply brings life and hope to who we are.  And you can see His spirit at work in other believers lives.  Yet I can definitely think of times when I simply just wondered, “Why are you so quiet God?”  “Why do you feel far away?”  And I know that anything God does for us is a huge act of Grace, we deserve nothing but death.  But sometimes you do feel like shouting, ‘God! You said you’d always be there for me.‘ 
It is very significant that God has decided to put alongside promises of ‘I will never leave you’ and ‘surly I am with you always’ with stories of how God was silent, and stories where people feel completely left by God, in the Bible.  Think of God promising Abraham so much then things look good for 4 generations. With the dreams of Joseph and all that prosperity and what not. Then for 430 years, it seems God just let’s His children become oppressed and enslaved until we pick up the story of Salvation again with Moses.  But what about all that silence? Why God? Did those covenantal words that God spoke to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob mean nothing? It’s possibly so that the people of God would know that left to themselves they weren’t going to make much of themselves but that stuff would happen on God’s timing and that it’s all God’s work.  

Then there’s the psalms

Ps 10
Do you hide Yourself in times of Trouble?
Ps 13
How long oh God will you forget me forever
Ps 69
My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God

And I could keep going. Not just with the psalms, I’m sure you can think of many incidents where people feel left by God in the Bible.
Though God being silent will never sit easy with me, I long to be talking and walking with God all the time.  However it is important to know that He is, silent, sometimes.  It keeps us alert to the mystery of the God whose ways are past finding out and attentive to the God we cannot control in any sense.  And to discipline our want for a ‘buzz’ from God instead of longing to worship and obey.  God is many things at different times to each of us, but one of them is silent.  We must guard ourselves from the thought that we can force God to speak or act.  

“Any understanding of God that doesn’t take into account God’s silence is a half truth – in effect a cruel distortion – and leaves us vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation by leaders who are willing to fill in the biblical blanks with what the Holy Spirit never tells us.”

From a book I’m reading by Eugene Peterson 


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