God, I’m really struggling. Why are you staying silent?

Senior Pastor Jeffrey Chong, Hope Church Singapore // July 13, 2017, 12:51 pm

When God is Silent

The walls of Jericho fell in seven days. Maybe you’ve been walking around walls for a lot longer. Maybe you’re wondering: I thought they’d have fallen by now.

God doesn’t always give the same specific instructions – walk around the city once for the first six days and seven times on the seventh – to bring strongholds down. Sometimes He says just one word: Go. Other times, He says a little more.

Truth be told, God doesn’t reveal everything all the time. It is not that He’s clueless; He knows what we need so much and offers us what we can handle. He works in His way and time, for our best.

However, in life, in this journey with God, there will definitely come a time where God seems silent. He does not respond like how He used to. He doesn’t feel as close. He doesn’t seem to be hearing any of the prayers.

And this is where doubt begins to creep in. Is God really there? Is He really good?

When I pray unceasingly but nothing seems to be happening, is God doing anything at all?

When my friends, who I thought were devout Christians, leave the faith, where is He? When God-loving people get diagnosed with cancer, receive bad grades, or get retrenched – why does God allow bad things happen to His children?

When God remains “silent”, the human mind tries to make sense of things.

Maybe it was because I didn’t repent fully the previous time. Perhaps there’s sin in my life that I’m not be aware of. Or He may possibly be a little too busy with other people who are more important than me. This could very well be God’s judgment and punishment for me.

When the wicked outnumber the righteous in this world, compromise seems to be the way to go: If you can’t beat them, join them, right?

But what about those among us who continue to do what is right, even when justice gets perverted? What is the point of being right with God if He does not look like He is keeping to His word of upholding the righteous?

God’s apparent inactivity frustrates Christians. It’s the human part of us reacting.

We go to God, questioning why He would allow such a thing to happen. Bad things should only happen to bad people, we cry. I’m a good person who fears God and follows His ways – why should this bad thing happen to me?

Why aren’t you doing anything, God?

The open wounds hurt, and the more we scratch at the scab of doubt, the worse it gets.

God displays His love by doing what is best for us. An answered prayer is one that is answered according to God’s will.

Initially, the anger may be directed at what’s around us – maybe the corrupt environment, or the broken social system. However, sometimes this blame shifts gradually towards God. Frustrations and complaints get dumped onto God.

(By the way, don’t think that God gets upset when we complain to Him. He is way more secure than anyone mortal you can think of.)

Before we know it, leaving the faith becomes an option, since He doesn’t seem to be around.

Even though it makes sense in the logical mind to walk away from God, the truth is: It doesn’t.

Just because I don’t see the air around me doesn’t mean that there is none. Just because I don’t see the sun in the night sky doesn’t mean it has vanished overnight. Just because I don’t hear from God doesn’t mean that He is not working.

God displays His love by doing what is best for us. His best may not necessarily be granting our every prayer, like a genie. He won’t go around killing people just because they prayed – like Elijah and Jonah did – “I’ve had enough, I want to die.”

An answered prayer is one that is answered according to God’s will.

Trust that regardless of how the situation may seem, God is at work behind the scenes. God is at work – often for the bigger picture. Our current hurts and pains may very well be used to heal many others in the future.

We need to see beyond what is directly in front of us. This calls for trust.

It is not that God only works when we pray. God already started working even before the words had rolled off our tongues. He knows our needs even before we know them ourselves.

He is never early; He is never late. He works perfectly, in His perfect timing.

“Before a word is on my tongue, You, Lord, know it completely.” (Psalm 139:4)

Oftentimes, when God remains silent, He is training us to have stronger faith in Him. It is in these moments of silence where we exercise our faith.

If faith is anchored upon the visible and all that is apparent, that isn’t faith anymore, is it?

The question is not whether God is listening. He is. The question is: In the midst of waiting for change to come, how will I choose to respond?

By God’s grace, our scars become stars. By God’s goodness, our tests become testimonies.

The question is not whether God is listening. He is. The question is: In the midst of waiting for change to come, how will I choose to respond?

The logical mind beckons me to turn and walk away, because I can’t see God in my crisis. The weak soul simply yearns to cruise by, not wanting to face this turmoil and question too much. The heart of faith teaches me that I must remain rooted, trusting His promises because He has never failed.

So do you rely on your own understanding, ignore the crisis or trust God? This is the decision you have to make. This is the decision that will reflect your heart’s true posture of faith.

God’s promises still stand. God’s word will come to pass. This is my confidence.

Trust Him.

This article was adapted from a sermon by Jeffrey Chong, Senior Pastor of Hope Church Singapore.