When God is Silent

Guy Standing Alone

The fall of 2008 was a pretty difficult season for me. Our family had moved away from our home in Colorado and we were living in South Carolina. Though we were doing work that mattered, it wasn’t the life that I had imagined.

I’d always felt like God had called me to use my creative gifts to tell His Story. But nothing was happening creatively. I felt like God had basically tuned me out. That year, for the first time since it began, The Thorn was dark, and no one was calling us to bring it in. To make matters worse, I had just written my first novel and my publisher called to ask for the advance back.  

I remember walking along the beach (that was the good part), feeling like my life was over, asking God where things went wrong. I actually stopped and waited for Him to answer. Not sure exactly what I was hoping for—maybe for God to write something in the clouds or on the water. I waited for a long while, sitting on a pier, hoping God would say something…anything. Ever felt like that? 

We see unrest all around us and wonder where God is in the middle of it all. We watch footage of war across an ocean and wonder when God is going to intervene. We hear stories of trafficking and violence and sadness and can’t help but wonder what, exactly, God is thinking.

Maybe it’s a doctor’s diagnosis, a wayward child, a lost job, a stack of bills or simply an aching sense of loneliness or total lack of motivation. We cry out to God…and He is silent. But we have to be careful not to mistake silence for a lack of His presence. Often, God is more present in the silence than in the noise.  

Think for a moment of the picture of the First Christmas 2,000 years ago. For 400 years, God had been silent. Before that, God had spoken to His people through prophets or kings or priests. And then nothing. I’ve gone days, months, even years not really feeling like I’m hearing from God. But imagine going 40 decades. 

And then the sound that broke the silence of four centuries wasn’t a roar or a trumpet or the clash of cymbals. The sound that God sent to remind us that He had been here all along was the sound of a newborn baby’s cry. That day, God came near to complete the story of His Love for us. In the midst of the busyness of life, that’s what Jesus brings…change. He makes things new. But He doesn’t come to change our world…He comes to change us. 

That’s what God did in me back in South Carolina. He did answer me. But not to say “I’m going to change your life” but rather to say “I’m going to change YOU.” It wasn’t until I finally submitted my life, my ambition, my ideas of what should be that He made my life what it could be. And that’s when life becomes “exceedingly, abundantly, more than all you could ask, think, dream or imagine.” 

Now, I can look back and see the trail of His grace everywhere, even in the silence. Since 2008, we’ve seen tens of thousands of people find their place in God’s Story through The Thorn. Over 6,000 children have been sponsored out of poverty. And creative young leaders are coming to Colorado to be trained and equipped in the arts and culture-care. 

I don’t know what you’re dealing with today, but no matter what it is remember that God is there with you. My prayer for you today is that God would invade the silence of your world with a reminder that He has been there all along.

  • http://www.strongerwithchrist.com Kendra Berry

    Thanks for the reminder. My “silent time” was when the doctors prescribed a medication for seizures cause by my brain tumor. The medication does cause depression and mood disorders, and I was feeling it. But looking back, I can look back and see that God was teaching me that HE is strong. Stronger than my brain tumor. Stronger than my medicine. By the way, I am still on the medication, but God shows His power daily and gives me hope and vitamins (which help).

    • John Bolin

      Thanks so much for sharing this, Kendra. Yes, he is stronger! Please know that we are lifting you up in prayer today.

      • http://www.strongerwithchrist.com Kendra Berry

        Thanks John.

  • Russ Tanner

    Great article.

    • John Bolin

      Thanks, Russ!

  • Richard Mulligan

    So what was the book you published? :-) on Amazon?

    • John Bolin

      Published a few. The book I talk about in the blog was the Eden Project.