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When God Seems Silent

What to do when life is dark and heaven's quiet
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Ten years ago, it seemed as though God had packed up, moved far away, and left me no forwarding address. I was unable to sense his promptings and overall presence as I searched for him during trying times. I felt abandoned, confused, and terribly alone.

The year actually had started out on an opposite note. In January, I'd realized a lifelong dream—the publication of my first book. The spring months were jammed with talk show interviews and a stepped-up speaking schedule. Blessings were everywhere. In the midst of it all, God gave me a vision to start a new ministry for Christians in the workplace. I was on a roll.

With great excitement, I raced through all the open doors. My quiet times were rich, God's directions were clear, and all the lights were green. As long as God kept guiding, directing, leading, and blessing, I felt I could handle all the pressure and change.

Then, a recession in the summer of 2001 slowed my small consulting business. I was worried because I now had the added expenses of launching a new ministry. I hoped that by fall, everything would be back to normal. Little did I know the events of September 11 were right around the corner.

After 9-11, "bad-to-worse" took on a whole new meaning. The economy reeled. Clients stopped paying their bills and called off future projects. Speaking engagements were canceled. The stress caused my fibromyalgia to flare and a relentless cycle of pain, fatigue, and depression followed. To top it all off, my health insurance provider filed for bankruptcy.

Daily I approached God with growing concern. "Okay, God, I'm sure you've got a plan. Show me what I'm supposed to do here. I need you now more than ever. I'm a middle-aged woman on my own. I'm physically hurting, emotionally spent. How should I deal with this?"

The silence was deafening.

My prayers became more strident: "God, this is not the time to play hide-and-seek. I'm facing some serious anxiety here. Now would be an especially good time to hear from you!"

When I thought nothing was happening, God, in fact, had me in training.

For more than two decades, the Holy Spirit had filled my head and heart with comfort, encouragement, leadings, inklings, instructions—even in the rockiest of times. But for the next six months, God was totally mute.

What's going on when God's silence seems palpable? What on earth is he up to? The hard reality is, some things are best learned in the dark. Here's what God taught me through that tough time of his silence.

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March 28, 2014  6:31pm

This article answers nothing. Most people will come to realizations on their own. If God doesn't recognize the deepest desires of the heart on this where He has placed us, and His focus is only on sublimating our needs and wants into some kind of "missionary" work, then a vital part of our existence is being ignored. I can't buy that that is enough. I don't consider my inner felt desires to be whimsy, non-essential, or not worth the attention of God. Basically, what your article does is to deeply imply that we are only tools in the hands of God (Stress on the word "ONLY.") I think that is an unfortunate approach and still leaves many people questioning the silence of God. That is a subject that will never be answered completely or satisfactorily.

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June 19, 2013  10:11am

I read the comments, and yes life is hard. Singleness is something I struggle with, because I have been pure all my life and I am still waiting for God to bless me. Yes marriage is not a litmus test to see if God loves me, but I want to be married. I will not give up on my dream of marriage thinking I can use the time to serve God if I am not married. I can serve even if I am married. And from what I have experienced, the life of a Christian is very difficult. As I said I have been faithful with my body and all my friends and family that are around my age have not been faithful with their body yet they are married. I am happy for them, but I just want to give just one example of how the Christian life is hard. God bless.

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November 03, 2011  12:30am

I wish the author could have shared more about her emotional turmoil, as I believe she went through much more than is mentioned. It will help greatly. Also can she please write an article on why some people are single, yet have the burning desire to get married. Why God choose some of us to be single if the desire for a partner does not fade.

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