When God is Silent

Psalm 102: 1-7: Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof.

We live in a world where there is constant noise and very little silence. Noise is something that we are accustomed to and when there is silence, we become uncomfortable. When the pastor asks the congregation to pray in silence, before the pastoral prayer, I take notice of people moving around uneasily. Even in the middle of a church service, we are anxious when it comes to silence.

Silence is especially painful when it is the silence of God in our lives. And it seems that when we are going through a painfully long period of silence from God, there are many people that want to tell us about how God has “spoken” to them. That tends to trouble me, because I begin to wonder why God is speaking to them and not to me. The silence that I am feeling becomes agonizing and then uncertainties begin to settle in my mind, and I pray really hard for some kind of answer, and it seems that all I get from God is silence.

When God is silent we can simply become upset with God, we become confused, we start to doubt. The truth is that we just don’t know what to do with God’s silence. There is some sort of anguish in my life, I am suffering and in pain like the psalmist. And it seems that I have been praying to God for a very long time, to help me with my problems, and all that I am met with, is silence from God. Then I begin to question if God has given up on me or has stopped listening to me and my prayers.

The Old Testament story of Job, is a reminder of crying out to God for answers and receiving silence. Job cried out to God for the first thirty seven chapters of the book of Job and God finally answered him in chapter 38. God said, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?” (Job 38:4-5). That is God’s way of reminding us that God continues to be in charge of this universe.

The psalmist, in our scripture reading today, seems to be asking, “God, are you even listening to these prayers of mine that I am pouring out to you?” I’m hurting Lord, I’m in deep anguish God, please hear my prayers. The psalmist is reminding us that it’s allright to complain to God. We don’t have to hide our feelings from God because He knows what they are already.

It could be that God is not silent after all; it’s possible that we are not tuned into hearing God. We are surrounded by background noise and countless distractions. God is trying to communicate with us, but we can’t hear God because we have blocked him out. Our minds are tuned into the internet or the television instead of reading our Bible daily or a few moments of quiet prayer with God. It is in those moments that we can hear that still, small voice of our creator God. And it is in those moments that we can receive answers to our worries or concerns.

1 Kings 19:11-12: The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. This is why it is crucial to have a daily quiet time with God, so that through reading the Bible, or through prayer, God can speak to your heart through the Holy Spirit, in that still, small voice. Don’t allow yourself to be too busy that you don’t take the time to listen.

There is a story that you may have heard about a man who once lost his valuable watch in an ice house. All of his fellow workers diligently searched the ice house looking for the watch. They combed every inch of it, but they couldn’t find it. A little boy, hearing about their search, slipped into the ice house and quickly emerged with the watch. All of the men were amazed and they said, “How did you find it?” And he said, ” Well I simply went to the ice house, closed the door, laid down quietly on the floor, and then I began to listen. After a while, I could hear the tick, tick, tick of the watch.” Are you training yourself to listen for that still, small voice of God?

What happens when prayers seem to go unanswered or not answered in the way that we wanted them to be? For me, it’s continuing to have faith and trust in God and His plan for my life. I have struggled lately with my calling and why things have not worked out in the time frame that I have wanted them to. I feel that I have been faithful to God and sometimes I just can’t understand why opportunities have passed me by and doors have been closed on me. Someone told me several weeks ago that God closes one door in order to open up another one. I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of all those doors slamming shut in my face.

However, I continue to have faith and hope, and I trust in God’s promises. I pray that you will continue to have faith and seek out some quality, quiet time with God. I believe, that it is in those quiet moments, that we have the opportunity to experience God revealing himself to us and making clear His will for our lives. We must train ourselves to be quiet, and to listen, and then respond, to our creator God.

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34 thoughts on “When God is Silent”

  1. I liked that you are pretty honest. Some people when they write about God and about prayers; they sound like superheros! Making the rest of us feeling really down as if God dos not listen only to our prayers.

    It is good to know that there are other people facing the same issues with God. It give us hope.


  2. I was just thinking about how much of what you said is what I’m feeling right now. Maybe I’m not listening like I use to. My life is busier and I tend to push my time with God off to the side. I feel deeply pained that I can’t hear Him and it seems like I can’t sense His moving anymore.

  3. Thanks for this……I now know what am listenig out for. Not the noises, not the ‘thus says the Lord’ but His still small voice!!

  4. God has been silent in my life, I will shut down the distracting electronic devices and go back to reading his Word and waiting on the Lord. Praise God in the name of Jesus.

  5. Thank you so much for this article. It was very encouraging. As a believer, you begin to think, what have I done so wrong to silence the voice of God over my life. Thank you for pointing out Job’s cry and the time line as recorded in the scriptures. Very very insightful! God bless you!

    1. Hi Roselle,
      I’ve felt the same way.. and you just wonder. The one thing I will say is that over the years as a true believer in CHrist as you mature the rules of the game change. The battles we we were in as newborn believers is much different as you develop and grow in Christ. I think that sometimes problems of believers are generalized in terms of how to resolve them without the fundamental understanding that what it took 10 years ago to resolve a problem is no longer the strategy. I dont know where your life is but I do not that to win every battle one must have a MASTER STRATEGY to improve or overcome. I believe in you. God Bless.. IN MY THOUGHTS, Sincerely, Princess

  6. I have been struggling for what seems like forever now, when in reality it has been a short time. But, I am not use to silence from God, and it has been very uncomfortable indeed. It is much as you said when there is silence among a group. Mere seconds feel like an eternity. It is good to know I am not alone in this experience. Your words remind me how little patience I have and give me hope that I am not abandoned in my plight. Thank you.

  7. I’ve going through a very difficult time for the past six months and its getting more and more intensified. I did not know that getting married trying to do something to honour God would pose so much difficulty. I am in a place right now where I just want to hear from God and only God. Being a Christian is worth living and I do not regret , I would just like to hear from God. And he is silent. It breaks me down. But I thank you for your word of encouragement.

  8. Thank you for this Daryll, it is so true how some things happen in ways you don’t understand, and this something I needed to hear!!

  9. Reverend Mathis:
    Thank you so kindly for sharing your thoughts through this blog. The state that the world is in is of utter turmoil and to have a pastor address the issue of GOD being silent is encouraging. Before reading this post I had both hands in the air with an overdue to “GIVE UP ON GOD” sign imprinted in my forehead. The trials and tribulations should be working out an eternal weight of Glory. I ‘d just like to understand from GOD how long, how long, how long, (per JOB) does it take.. It is depressing to hear those buckle bound cliche’s like” when GOD closes one door he opens another”. yes, I AGREE with you I’M TIRED of all the doors closing. When does some of those promised doors open? I hope not on the other side. I’ve heard Christians (whom i believe are immature or unlearned say) this life is worth living for GOD even in suffering. Well suffering may be a part of life but for goodness sake when can we not invite suffering to the dinner table. My study of God’s word does not tell me that every day, month, week , or year I need to suffer to please GOD. Thanks for the blog and sharing. May Rich Blessings follow you, Princess

  10. I appreciate the time and sincerity that you took to post this, but it still continues to weigh down on me. It’s like every article out that there talks about how to deal with silence from God – and most of them talk about needing to “be still” or “silent” before God and spend more quality time with Him and read my Bible and so on – but that doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t hear Him in a still small voice no matter how much I strain to be quiet and listen I get nothing.

    What does it even mean to “be still” anyway? What do we do if we don’t know how to tap into that still small voice of God? People always talk about how God is always speaking, it’s just a matter of how to tune in to Him, but I don’t know how to do that or what that means! I do have a daily quiet time with God, I read my Bible, I pray – but hear nothing. I’m not saying nothing happens – I just hear nothing. How do you tune in?

    Frankly I’m really frustrated because I don’t know what is happening and I keep encountering this sort of terminology that I can’t seem to practice. I used to be able to hear from God, experience Him, but now I’m just floundering (as I have been for something like 4 years or so.)

  11. “When God is silent” is exactly what I typed in the Google search bar, and I found this. I am desperate to have an understanding as to what is going on in my life. One calamity after another is what I have experienced, and I’ve been walking around in the “wilderness” for over a decade. My heart is broken, and I didn’t realize that others can see my brokenness. I went to Healing Rooms Ministries in Atlanta to be prayed for concerning several physical conditions, but when the lady who was ministering looked at me, she said that I have a broken heart and that the Holy Spirit is leading her to pray for healing of my heart. I love God to pieces. However, I do not understand the purpose of my continuous suffering, and no one in my (extended) family understands it either, and they have pretty much ostracized themselves from me. What’s hurtful about my family is that they claim to know the Lord as their Savior, but yet they judge me because I have encountered many unexplainable sufferings, instead of seeking God with me and praying for me. I’ve checked my life…I am not living a sinful life. So I ask God, “What is this all about? The call that’s on my life? To have a deeper relationship with You? To draw closer to You? But why must it be so intense? And for so many years? When will breakthrough come? Will life be like this forever?” Thank you Rev. Mathis for your post. It speaks to my heart, and from reading it, I can finally say, “Someone else understands.” I’m going to read this over and over as I continue to trust Father God with my life, although I don’t understand.

  12. I thought I was always listening for God’s
    still small voice and that the silence
    was deafening. I find that if I
    ask for something just once, knowing
    He knows what I need already, this isn’t
    God being silent but that I’ve stopped
    making so much noise from repeating
    myself. It is difficult to hear someone
    else when you are doing all of the talking.

  13. I am still walking in His silent presence. And today I told myself someone must have answers. True ,doubt and uncertainty are beginning to lay nest in my thoughts. I know He hears me because the doubts never settle. The still small voice tells me to keep going, keep trusting for He know what He is doing. I prayed for the Lord to at least encourage me today..and this is where I was led. Therefore He hears and He directs. I just need to be serious about doing my listening to Him. ~Thank you for this message

  14. Thank you for your devotional. This is very encouraging to me. It speaks to my spirit, and it is exactly where I am today, especially with the closed doors. I havnt lost faith, I still hold to God’s promises, especially during these hard times
    (I’ve been looking for a job for a while).
    Thank you again.

  15. Add’l Thoughts:
    Overall, I am learning this from my situation. That is to be patient, to wait on God, and to trust God. After being in the word, doing praise & worship, believing God’s promises, and after doing all I know what to do-then just stand.
    There is nothing else I can do but to wait on God. Galatians 6:9b AMP, says it this way: for in due time and at the APPOINTED SEASON, we shall reap. So, in
    conclusion, there is an expiration date for my situation.(Our question is and will always be WHEN is that season).

  16. Thanks for this insightful writeup.
    I searched “when God is silent” and goole took me here.
    I used to enjoy spontaneous answer to prayers, Holy spirit
    Used to speak to and guide me with or without invoking
    Him amongst other benefit from God. unfortunately God
    Has remained silent for a couple of months now. In my own
    case, I was living a good life not until a couple months
    Of ago, the Lord ministered to me, He even sent some people
    To me to confirm His word, I risked everything to obey His
    Word but here I am today outcasted! I have been praying,
    Fasting, reading the scriptures, attentive to hear Him but
    Nothing has happened. I’m beginning to change my mindset
    Towards God, He’s my priority, I still love Him. I just came
    To realize that “God can do all things, but He won’t do so
    Many things, also we are all toys in the presence of God
    Almighty, He does whatever He wants with us regardless of
    The level of your holiness, prayers,fasting or alms” still He’s
    Unquestionable God. I pray the Lord will meet us promptly
    At the point of our needs through Jesus Christ our savior.
    Amen. Kindly remember to post back here when you receive
    Your miracle, I’ll do thesame. Shalom!!!


    1. Testimony!!! I bless the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Miracle has happened in my life. God almighty has turned to me, I now enjoy him more than before. He has fixed me up and place me on a higher grounds…..I promise to come and share my testimony…your own miracle is also on the way…..IJN!

  17. Very encouraging article!!! I asked the same question you asked! I gave myself to God–many years–and I spend quite time with God–I have personal relationship, but life is becoming very hard!!! I fast and pray for God to answer my prayers, but my prayers never been answered. God/Jesus does comes in dreams to show us future events I myself saw many miracles–miracles do not know how to explain them. I know God/Jesus is real–he talks to us while we are asleep–even send earthly angles and even sends messengers while we are asleep. It happened to me many times!!! I like to stay faithful no matter how tough life is!!! I have hope in Jesus –He is on the throne, and nothing is impossible for him to fix any problem. The reason why he silent in our trail is because He wants to test our faiths–how strong we are!!! Are we going to leave Jesus because we are in adversity??? See to his Disciples!!! Peter crucified up side down–others-stoned, beheaded, chained!!!! Comparing to the followers of Jesus we are not even close to them. So take courage–things are going to be worst–and prepare yourself for the worst. Being followers of Christ is not easy task because I know!!!! Before I gave myself to Christ –I had everything I need–I had the money, material, but empty!!! Now I have nothing–live in adversity, but peaceful, happy, free from sin–I don’t worry for nothing–the only thing I do is pray–pray for the whole world–for every human being–for his/her salvation!!! That all!!!

  18. I really dont know what to say. Sometimes I almost get confused and allow some silly thoughts into my mind then ask God for forgiveness for allowing those thoghts in the first place. Its not easy to walk with God but with determination and patience one can make it. Most times I just tell God ‘no matter what happens you will still remain my God’ I cant go back to Egypt neither can I go to the shrine of satan. My mind is made up and He will give me the grace to follow through with him till my change comes. Your article gave me great courage. Thank you and God bless you.

  19. I too am facing adversity and straining to hear a silent God. But I know He has never let me down before. He has answered prayers for me in unbelievable ways….yet now in this present time of trial…He is sooooo silent. I am like the previous poster…I can’t go back to Egypt, neither will I bow to the enemy. I feel like I am in this weird place….no God and constant mental attacks of doubt from the enemy. Please prayer for me to stand strong in my faith and I will pray for you. I know He is real and loves us all.

  20. The last two paragraphs hit home for me. I have been dealing with a lot for the past few yrs. I got to the point where I almost lost my faith because of the doors that are slamming and yet in this world its sooo hard to be faithful I have done all I can with all my strength to be faithful and I have with tears streaming down my face. And I am still being faithful.
    I have realized that sometimes I don’t trust that God will come through for me, because in this particular issue, He has never come through for me. But since the Bible says even when we are faithless He is faithful… I hope He will still be faithful to me.
    Thanks for posting

    1. Thanks for responding Natalie and I can relate to your situation as well.
      I agree with your statement on God being faithful even when we struggle with our faith.
      Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
      May God give you (and all of us) this kind of faith.

  21. Were you discussing my present predicament ? I have been so disillusioned lately with God not answering my prayer, three years now. A friend recently told me about one door closing and another one opening…looks like many doors have slammed on me with none opening. In this article i have found strength

  22. I have been waiting on God’s answers to three particular prayers, job related, financial and personal. He has not answered them and it has been several years. I become upset at His silence sometimes asking Him if my sins are so great that he cannot forgive me and help me. I do get discouraged at times. But I still continue to pray to him for these three requests. The other day I had a life and death situation and I called upon Him praying, “Father help me! You are all I have.” and his response came immediately. He saved my life. I know He is with me always, but I also know he doesn’t answer all prayers. I love Him but I do not understand Him at times. But I trust Him to help me in the most important life or death situations for I know He loves me. He is my all, my everything and I do love Him so. I feel so hurt and lost when I don’t feel His presence. I pray that He will never leave me. He is my father who happens to be God Almighty is the best way I can explain my relationship with him.

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