Every believer enters a valley at some point in his or her life, is it a punishment?
Dr. Jeremiah Johnston says no. Often it’s God’s way of preparing us.
‘God’s silence is biblical, personal, common, and not always a bad thing.”
Jeremiah knows this well. He and his wife Audrey lived with God’s silence for five years as they tried unsuccessfully to have children. As they waded through the well-meaning but painful advice from others, they struggled to understand why God wasn’t acting on their behalf.
“Here I am, committed my life to studying the Bible, I’m a pastor, I’m involved in ministry… and yet my wife and I sense that God is so distant from us.”
Jeremiah didn’t understand what God was doing in his life, but he and his wife committed to walking in faith regardless of God’s plan.
God’s silence does not mean He doesn’t love you. God’s silence does not always equate to God’s chastisement.
Jeremiah points out that Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God, had deep struggles with the silence of God. He shares Henry’s steps as a primer for us to follow.
1. Check your heart. Is there hidden sin to confess? Are there habits that are drawing you away from Him?
2. Study the Scriptures for examples to follow.
3. Don’t stay alone. Satan loves to isolate those who are hearing God’s silence.
Many people faithfully followed God’s leading in the Bible but experienced His silence in their faithfulness.
• Abraham and Sarah had not one but two long periods of God’s silence – 25 years overall.
• Joseph had 13 years of God’s silence in a prison cell in Egypt.
• Jesus Christ Himself experienced the silence of His Father on the cross, leading to a cry that scholars today are still wrestling with – “Why have You forsaken Me?”
Often silence means God wants to reveal something fresh, a new calling He has for you. Don’t lose heart in this time of preparation.
“If you feel like God has un-followed you, you feel like God is playing this cosmic game of hide-and-go-seek, know that you are not some second-tier Christian.”
God’s apparent hiddenness may be taking you through that valley to bring you to a greater destiny, a greater future. Jeremiah reminds us of Christ’s last hours on this earth.
“If even Jesus experienced the silence of God, what can we learn through that?”
Jeremiah tackles this and other questions in his book, Unanswered: Lasting Truth for Trending Questions.
Featured Songs: O Holy Night by Danny Gokey; Our God is With Us by Steven Curtis Chapman; O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Francesca Battistelli