When God Is Silent

How many times in your life have you questioned God?

Where are you? Why are you letting this happen? What do you want me to do now? What is your plan? Only to get no answer. Or at least what you perceive as no answer. Why is God ignoring me, or why doesn’t he answer me might be your next question.

A common answer to that question is sometimes God is waiting for you to ask the right question. He is waiting for your desires to line up with His. However, that is not usually the answer we are looking for. We are looking for something a little more concrete, a little more direct or decisive. Something that will solve all our problems or quench our doubts or confirm our decisions. Unfortunately, that is not always how it works. We don’t always get the quick answer we are hoping for.

Our microwave society is used to getting what we want instantaneously. Drive through fast food, online shopping and banking, instant messaging and the list goes on. We don’t have to wait for our food to be cooked, we expect it to be ready when we get there. We don’t even have to wait to get to the store to shop. A few mouse clicks and we own it. And forget about communication. We have gone from Pony Express, take a few months to get word back, to after a few seconds and we’re tapping our fingers in impatience. And we did all that in less than two hundred years. It’s no wonder we get a little antsy when we don’t hear from God as quick as we’d like sometimes.

Imagine the last thing you hear from someone is they love you and they want the best for you and then they go “absent” for years. What do you do with that? How do you react? Was any of it true? Was it all a lie? You’re gonna question it and maybe doubt the sincerity of what you heard. Well fortunately, we have the benefit of knowing what happened; how the story turns out. We know that God is true to His word. But that still doesn’t stop us from panicking when we don’t get answers to our prayers.

The last book of the old testament is Malachi. A book Where God basically tell us that he loves us and wants us to love each other in the same way He loves us. Of course that is the last thing we hear Him say for almost 400 years. Until the birth of His son, Jesus in Matthew. For almost four hundred years, G0d was silent, or so it seemed. Where did He go? Why did He go so long without a word. Sound familiar? We are not the first ones to ask those questions. Somewhere around 350 BC, Malachi was written and that was the last anyone heard from God for a long time. The question is, or was, why has God left us? Of course, we know that God will not abandon us. He may let us wait for a while until we are ready to hear from him, but he certainly will not abandon us! So the question still remains, why was God silent for all those years?

The first thing you need to understand is, “Do not ever confuse God’s silence for God’s absence!” God is never absent from our lives. He may hang in the background, but he is always present. Why would He do that? What good does that do? How does that help me? Well, to answer that question, we want to take a look at what was happening after the book of Malachi was written and before the Gospels, the 300-400 years before Christ was born.

alexander the greatSomewhere around 340 BC, Alexander III of Macedon took over the armies of his Father, Phillip II of Macedon as well as his throne, after his fathers death. Alexander went on to expand Macedonian territory into Egypt, India and Persia and eventually conquered over half of the known world at the time. He also improved transportation of the time and opened up new trade routes in Asia.

As Alexander began conquering this significant amount of territory and forming an Empire, he left more than just carnage and death in his wake. Thanks to the tutelage of Aristotle, Alexander had been imbued with a great amount of love for his Greek heritage: the language, culture, traditions, and the philosophies. In a process known as Hellenization (so named for Greece’s ancient name, the Hellenes) Alexander and his troops took it upon themselves to spread that knowledge of Greece and its history and traditions to nations which would have otherwise had no knowledge of it, thus giving these areas a sort of commonality. He also decreed that there would be one universal language and that was Koine Greek. It was in this language that the first Bible transcripts were written, so as to enable everyone to understand it. It was because of Alexander, Greek culture became the culture of the Near East and that the three great monotheistic world religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) grew out of this Hellenistic culture. 

During his conquest of Egypt, another legacy to Christianity took shape. He journeyed to the oracle of Amun, and there, was declared to be his son, literally the son of God. This concept of a divine savior king was one that was previously unknown in history until Alexander. The Romans, whose empire would one day eclipse Alexander’s, would come to adopt this belief as well, treating their emperors as divine. However, the most notable personage to have this adage attributed to him is Jesus Christ.

The point I am making with this little history lesson here is that even though God seemed to be absent, he was not. He was working behind the scenes to make sure everything was just right for the birth of His son. He opened roads of travel, He made sure the world was open to new philosophies and beliefs and He enabled a common language throughout the land. So even though God was not talking to His people, He was still attentive to their needs and made sure that everything was in place for his plan to succeed. The same goes for us today. Just because we are not “feeling the love,” He is still there with us. Which might explain why his first words after 400 years, in Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. The chapter continues on in verse 23, reminding us of the prophet Isaiah’s words; The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, meaning “God with us.”

He wanted to remind us that even though we may not know it or feel it, God is always with us. He may not be right in our face, He may not be guiding your every step and decision, but He is at work in our lives. It may be behind the scenes preparing the world around us for something great or possibly even preparing us to be able to see and understand his plan for us. Whatever the case may be, don’t think you are alone. Remember that when you are not hearing from God, trust that he is still present.




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