Why you need to persevere when God seems silent

20170716_203416The past few days or weeks I’ve felt like I was getting the silent treatment from Jesus. I just wasn’t hearing His voice as clearly as I had been. I’d prayed about it. I cried about it. I’d wept over it. I’d begged Him. I’d even gotten angry at Him. I’d thought and even said to Him “You failed!”

I’m not justifying my anger or the words I shouted at Him in my place of pain over His silence. I’m not even recommending you try it at home. I am only saying there is something so sweet, so gentle, so kind, so wonderful about having the kind of relationship with Jesus that allows you to spill your guts like that and know He is not going to leave you. He knows that even as you shout it you know deep in the marrow of your soul that it isn’t true, it only feels true.

You know beyond any shadow of any doubt that as your tears run rivers down your cheeks as you say “I’m sorry” over and over that you are completely forgiven already. That your angry outburst did not deter His love for you nor did it surprise Him at all.

I have a friend (probably several of them actually) who would be so shocked to know I dared voice that to Him out-loud. It just isn’t an acceptable thing to do or admit to. But I ask you, why on earth not? Why not admit to having doubts? To doubt His goodness and His faithfulness? He knows us so much better than we know ourselves. We aren’t hiding anything from Him.

This morning my prayer was very different than it had been. This morning all I heard in my head was the voice of my own flesh and enemy taunting me as I prepared to spend time with Jesus. They told me loud and they told me long that it was a waste of time, because He isn’t speaking to me anymore. I’d blown it. Long before my shouted “You failed!” I’d blown it and I’d only been pretending to hear Him. I had made it all up.


This morning though I was just done. I was done listening to the lies of the enemy. Done. D-O-N-E. Donedonedonedonedonedone. Have you ever been there? You’re just so done. This morning in my done-ness I prayed truth!

Jesus, I know You have something for me today and I’m done listening to the enemy tell me differently. Please speak Your Truth –  hard or soft, harsh or kind – to my soul.

The children of Israel knew well the silence of God. At the time of the judges, under the high priesthood of Eli, God was silent.

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. 1 Samuel 3:1

The hopelessness of this verse is staggering.  The bleak outlook on life that must have been rampant. Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,” the King James Version reads it, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I’ve been there. I’ve felt like I was perishing or would perish if I didn’t hear from Jesus, if I didn’t see Him. That is a very sad outlook on life. It is a very painful place to be living.

No word from the Lord, no visions. Just a silent heaven. God had spoken His judgement and plans against Eli and his family. Then nothing.

“And it happened…that the Lord called..” (1 Samuel 3:2,4) 

He came again to speak.  He didn’t speak to the obvious one, but to the new one. The one who hadn’t heard His voice before. Samuel didn’t know who was speaking, he thought it was Eli. Three times the Lord called and three times Samuel went to Eli. Three times Samuel was sure it was Eli’s voice calling to him in the dark of night.

And three times Samuel went to Eli. The Lord patiently waited for both the old man and the young boy to grasp who it was who was calling. He waited. He was patient with Samuel, as He had been patient with Eli.

The Lord then called a fourth time and the silence from heaven was broken. He broke the silence to speak to a little boy who had no yet learned to listen to Him, to heed His voice.

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What can we learn from this? Simply this: God is patient. He will keep calling. He calls us again and again. He calls us even when we confuse His voice with that of someone else. When we aren’t sure whose voice we’re hearing, when we think He sounds like our teacher. He will still call. He still reaches out. He waits for us to get it.

He waits even for those of us who have heard His voice before. He didn’t annihilate Eli when he didn’t immediately know it was the Lord’s voice speaking to Samuel. He waited patiently until Eli understood and gave Samuel the direction and the words to say the next time the Lord called.

The fourth and final time the Lord called Samuel’s name, the text says “the  Lord came and stood…”. I pondered the significance of that statement. Why was it important and what did it mean that this time He came and stood.

This time God made it personal.

When I need one of my children and I simply call their name to come to where I am, it gets the job done. They are in my presence and I am able to impart instruction. But it says something entirely different to them when I get up from where I am and go to them to impart the instruction.  This shows honor and value to the other. The Lord was saying, “Samuel, you might be a young boy but you have value in My economy.” He says the same to you when He comes to speak. “You might be (fill in the blank), but you have value in My economy.”

When life looks bleak and hopelessness reigns, hang on! The Word of the Lord is coming!