Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What do you do when God is silent?

On his blog today, Seth Barnes invites his readers to respond to a plea for advice he had just received from a woman named Monica. This particular letter touched me because so often Christians are pressured to feel as if they have to act happy all the time, when in reality the Christian life is filled with highs and lows, even times of intense suffering. Perhaps you can relate to this experience in your own life.

Below is the text of the e-mail, followed by my response.

Hi Seth,

I came across your site today in my desperate attempt to find anyone on the internet that wonders what happens when you are convinced God isn't listening. I couldn't believe I actually consulted the Google search box with that exact question… and to my further amazement, there were actual links!!! Ha! God is good. One of them led me to your site.

What do you do when you feel like the wife in Hosea and just know that God has done what He did so many times in the OT and turned His face from you. When nothing goes right? Nothing is blessed. Every wall is up and you just throw your hands up and fall on your face and whimper, "I give." Help?


I can definitely relate to your feeling that "God has turned His face from you".

I have experienced this at different times, and I can easily say that those have been the hardest, most agonizing and frustrating times of my life. I can also confidently say, that those times are also the ones that I most significantly learned and grew in my faith. (This doesn't make the hard times fun, but it's easier to hold on if you can see this as a growth process and not a dead-end street).

After God healed me from a nine-month bout with depression, I could begin to understand the reality that just because God is not speaking to me, does not mean He is not listening. Just because I do not feel His presence, doesn't mean He is not there.

James 4 says that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. The fact that your situation has caused you to fall at His feet and cry "I give" shows that God is affirming your faith in Him, and teaching you to draw yet closer. Be encouraged in this.

Believe it or not, later circumstances in my life brought me to a point where I actually praised God for that experience with depression. What had once been the worst time of my life, was now a cause for celebration. Only God can do this. I have no doubt that God will redeem your suffering as well in a powerful way.

God Bless,

Katherine Weston =)

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