Why are there times when God seems silent / absent in a believer's life?Question: "Why are there times when God seems silent / absent in a believer's life?"
Answer: In answering this question, one is reminded of Elijah and his flight from Jezebel. Elijah was a man of God whom God used to do some mighty things. However, when word reached him that Jezebel had threatened his life, he ran (1 Kings chapter 19). Elijah prayed to the LORD and in effect complained about how he was being treated: "And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away" (1 Kings 19:10). The LORD'S answer to Elijah is thrilling: "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:11-12).
We see in this passage of Scripture that what Elijah thought was not true. Elijah thought God was silent and that he was the only one left. God was not only "not silent," but He had an army waiting in the wings so that Elijah was not alone: "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him" (1 Kings 19:18).
In our walk as born-again believers, it may seem that God is silent, but God is never silent. What looks like silence and inactivity to us is God allowing us the opportunity to listen to "the still small voice" and to see the provisions that He has made for us by faith. God is involved in every area of a believer's life--the very hairs on our heads are numbered (Mark 10:30; Luke 12:7). However, there are times when we have to walk in obedience to the light that God has given us before He sheds more light on our path, because in this age of grace God speaks to us through His Word.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isaiah 55:8-11).
Therefore, when God seems silent to us as born-again believers, it may mean that we have stopped listening to His voice, we have allowed the cares of this world to plug our spiritual ears, or we have neglected His Word. God does not speak to us today in signs, wonders, fire or wind, His Spirit speaks to us through the Word, and in that Word we have the "words of life."
Recommended Resource: Everything Happens for a Reason? God's Purposes in a World Gone Bad by Paul Enns
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Questions about the Christian Life
Why are there times when God seems silent / absent in a believer's life?