Released in 1964, the haunting melody of ‘The Sounds of Silence’ became a huge hit for Simon & Garfunkel. One line says;
‘But my words, like silent raindrops fell.
And echoed, in the wells of silence.’
Silence they say is golden, yet for many of us in our relationship with God, silence can bring confusion and even despair. If your understanding tells you that every moment you live in connection with Christ, you have a sense of God’s closeness and intimate fellowship, well I’m thinking you haven’t lived with Christ for long. I’m not being critical or judgemental, it’s just that my experience and that of many others, is that at times God seems distant, silent or even absent in life. It’s ok if you live every moment sensing God’s presence. It’s a good thing, in fact, I envy you. More likely your experience mirrors most. We have times when we seem so close to God and others that, well, are different. Ever felt a bit like Job (without the festering sores and scraping broken pottery on your skin – ouch!) Job said: ‘I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.’ (Job 30:20) Or David, Mr ‘man after God’s own heart’ wrote: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.’ (Psalm 22:1-2) So why is God silent at times? Why do prayers seem to bounce back unheard? Why is a relationship that’s portrayed as being intimate, seem at times cold? Here’s a few thoughts that might help:
1) Perhaps our expectations are a little off. Should we even expect to live with an ever-present sense of His intimacy? He’s God after all and we’re not. He thinks differently and works differently than we can imagine. (Isa 55:8)
2) Life is seasonal. It’s filled with ups, downs, planting, uprooting, hurting, healing, weeping, laughing, mourning and dancing. Even our greatest desires can lead us into desolate places. It’s a wonderful thing to have a faith that rests on God’s ever-present-ness even when our earthly senses would say we’re alone. Isn’t that actually what faith is, ‘the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things we cannot see?’
3) Here’s a couple of old sayings that might help: ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’ Why is human nature like this? I think a great secret in our faith walk is to follow when we cannot feel and serve when we cannot sense His presence. God is never absent because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13: 5)
He is often silent, but He’s never still. He’s always working throughout the seasons of our lives for our betterment.
So, what do we do when we cannot hear Him? We do exactly what we should do when we can. We follow! We seek, we knock. We posture the faith journey toward Him.
Life is all about our trajectory. I think this is why Jesus called his disciples to ‘follow’ well before they ‘believed.’ Life is a movement and it’s our direction, not our intentions or our feelings, that will determine our destination. So, we follow. We follow after God, feelings or no feelings. We seek, not relying on our senses, because if we will continue toward God, asking, seeking and knocking, we will be given to, find what we’re after and things will be opened to us. (Matt 7:7-8)
One final thought: Perhaps it’s the thirsting in the silence, the listening more intently and the pursuing, that we find the refreshing we seek. Jesus, in what we call ‘sermon on the mount’, that many scholars believe was his key message that He preached throughout His ministry years says; ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.’


Phil Thomson – Leadership Coach, Trainer and Speaker

“Since your seminar I have been going from strength to strength.  Just recently Mental health in Tamworth have discharged me from their system/books after being with them for 25 years. June 2013

“I’m now doing a Cert III in Community Services and I’ve started helping others. Thank you Gary, these principles have changed my life.” 2015

Seminar Attendee, Tamworth

Mick Cameron

Silence

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