When God is Silent–What then?

03/19/14

It may seem a bit childish, but I don’t like it when bad things happen to good people. So this week when one of the finest and fittest people I know suffered a stroke, I got angry.

I had quite the conversation (one-sided) with God. It started out as a neat little prayer. Then I questioned him. And please forgive me, I think I even lectured him. Yet God was silent.

Now if my behavior bothers you, don’t worry–it bothered me too. I labeled myself a hypocrite.  I’m the author of the book Unwrapping Wonder:  Finding Hope in the Gift of Nature, yet  I teetered on the edge of hopelessness.

You need a time out, I chided myself, Get outside. So I hiked the river. I prayed in the forest. I pleaded with God. Psalm 19 declares that “the skies proclaim the work of his hands…day after day they pour forth speech,” yet I was deaf to his wonders.

And God remained silent.

My outside vigil continued. By Monday, sorrow hung from my shoulders.  Nothing stirred—not in my heart, not in the trees.

Advice from a Tree

Photo credit: Gayle Nicholson

Suddenly a breeze kicked up across the river, swept through the trees and washed over me.

My mind flashed upon 1 Kings 19, when Elijah, despondent over the turn of events in his life, sought the presence of the Lord.

Ultimately, Elijah found God’s presence where he least expected it:

  • His presence wasn’t in a powerful wind.
  • His presence wasn’t in the earthquake.
  • His presence wasn’t in the fire.

The presence of God floated in on a whisper. And Elijah heard it.

I, too, sought the presence of God. I needed his touch to calm my anxious heart. In my frustration I had hiked God’s wilds and demanded answers. I know better. But sometimes our emotions get the best of us.

So while God’s voice didn’t boom “Everything will be okay,” nor did God text me the answers to my questions, the blessed breeze reminded me that God hears. God sees. And he answers. In his way. In his time.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55: 8-9

For now, I take comfort that God walks beside my bruised spirit and carries my hurting friend close to his heart.

In the meantime, I will abide. I will strive to remain patient in silence. And believe.

Please join me in praying for my friends Frank and Kerri during their time of need.

Have you experienced God’s silence? How have you endured such a time?

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About the Author

Carol O'Casey

Comments

  1. God is never silent. We are tone deaf. Love your question.

    • Carol O'Casey

      Great perspective! Thanks for your insights.

  2. Lovely words you share…
    Perhaps God’s silence is an opportunity for you to lean in and draw closer to Him. Then you will hear the whisper and feel the warmth of his presence. Prayers for your dear friends.

    • Carol O'Casey

      Dear Carolyn, I love how you referred to God’s silence as an opportunity. So often we are locked into the mindset that silence is some sort of punishment, or that we have done something wrong and our signals are blocked. When actually, this silence offers us “the opportunity to lean in draw closer to Him.” Thank you for your wise insights and for your prayers for my friends. I pray you are enjoying this first day of spring!

  3. Carol,

    I will pray for your friends.

    It brings back memories of my late boss, who being the same age as I, had a massive stroke at the prime young age of 55. This wonderful man ate salad for lunch everyday and tried to eat good food on a regular basis. He was thin in build. He ran to help keep his blood pressure down. Healthy that’s what we would say. He is healthy. Then one dreadful day life changed in this twinkle of an eye. He survived the stroke, but lost his life in surgery to replace the piece of skull they had removed to relieve the pressure on his brain from the stroke.

    Life was never the same. Not for them personally, nor for those of us who worked with him. Of course I have no idea the severity of your friends stroke, but I am sure that life will not be the same for them and most likely not for you either.

    I pray that God not only touches their lives, but touches yours with a new wine in new wine skins. That you will be able to minister in a new way, feel in a new way, see creation through new eyes.

    2 Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

    The words with which God has blessed you with – sharing Him through those words – incredible!

    I’m so glad you heard Him ;-)

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