Some people love silence; others detest it. Some are not happy unless there is noise. And then there are others who long for quiet solitude. There are some who talk nonstop, and there are others who hardly say a word. But there are times, for all of us, when we long to hear a word from someone we love, and we are met with silence. It can be devastating.
Read Genesis 17. Notice how this chapter begins: "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, . . ." (v. 1). That means that thirteen years had passed since the close of chapter 16. And in that time, it seems there was nothing from God. Not a word of encouragement. Not a word of reminder regarding His promises. Nothing.
We know that every word God speaks is for a purpose and every moment of His silence is equally purposeful.
The Bible doesn't tell us precisely why God chose not to speak to Abraham and Sarah during this period of time. Maybe He wanted Abraham and Sarah's faith to develop to such a degree that it would become unshakable. Or maybe God was trying to imprint on their hearts and in their minds the consequences of their impetuous sin of running ahead of God and not waiting for Him. Remember: Sarah and Abraham decided it would be a good idea to "help" God keep His promises, so Abraham had a child with Sarah's servant, Hagar. Or maybe God was trying to bring them to the end of themselves.
We know that every word God speaks is for a purpose and every moment of His silence is equally purposeful. Whatever God was working in the hearts of Abraham and Sarah, it was to prepare them for what was coming next.
When you pray and hear only silence from heaven, God is working in that silence. Perhaps it's the silence of His loving rebuke—God is shaking you free from a certain stubborn sin in your life. Perhaps it is the silence of mercy—God is giving you time to reflect on His goodness. Or perhaps it is the silence of waiting. God wants you to trust Him and to rest in His promises. He has not forgotten you. In those moments, let your prayer be, "Lord, whatever it is that You are trying to teach me, help me to understand and submit to You."
Prayer: Father, thank You that, though You are sometimes silent, You are ever with me and Your silence always has a purpose. Help me to listen to You in whatever manner You choose to communicate. Grant me discernment and great faith as I wait on You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him'" (Lamentations 3:24).