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Why is God Silent?4 min read

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To many, serving an invisible God that only answers in subjective, non-verifiable ways, is pure superstition at best.  And while I understand this line of reasoning, it is not altogether sound because there is MUCH we can verify about God through what is made.

But regarding the silence of God, there are a few possible explanations for this.

1. Our inability to hear

The most important factor may be our inability to discern God’s voice: 

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

I interpret it this way. Faith comes from the ability to hear God. But the ability to hear God comes from understanding the gospel message and the scriptures.

If you’ve ever taken a communication class, you know that we often say one thing, but someone else may hear something other than what we meant because they have their own filter of beliefs that they hear through. However, the more they think like us, the clearer they understand our communication.

It is the same with God. Almost all of us think in worldly patterns that involve doubt, unbelief, wrong ideas about ourselves and God, and so even when God does speak, we often miss it or misinterpret it. But the more our thinking conforms to the scriptures, the easier it
will be for us to understand God. It’s like tuning in a radio – once you get the frequency lined up, the static is diminished and it is much easier to hear.

2. Understanding how God communicates

The second important thing in hearing God is to understand how God speaks. If you survey the bible, you will see that God speaks to us in many ways. Through dreams, angels, nature, voices, other people (both spiritual and not), and through the written words of scripture, and through our conscience.

However, in all these things, there is room for doubt and mistake, and we must rely on our own convictions – if you are not convinced inwardly, you can’t really go along.

3. Passion, Compassion, and the Voice of God

I actually intend to write a book by this title, but a brief view is that God guides us through our natural passions and abilities (as long as they don’t openly contradict scripture), our compassions (whom or what does your heart go out to in wanting to help), and through what we think God is saying to us. The latter is the area in which we all struggle against the silence, and must be careful.

But “hearing” the voice of God is something learned by trial and error!  If you read the end of Hewbrews 5 you’ll see that spiritual maturity comes through *practice*. It’s like discovering you had a new talent, but it’s undeveloped. Hearing God takes practice.

4. The Dark Night of the Soul

If you look at the lives of any of the great prophets or saints, you will see that they had periods of “God’s silence” which they suffered through to get to a new level of faith. For the mature xian, intimacy with God may not be an unbroken fellowship. There are times of Darkness. Even Jesus had a few.

5. Scripture, Doctrine, Experience, and Reason

wesleyan_quadTraditionally, it has been taught that the four items above are the spiritual authorities in the life of a Christian. This quadrad is referred to as the Wesleyan Quandrangle. Protestants teach that scripture has the highest authority, but our understanding of it is clarified  and informed by church doctrine or accumulated wisdom (tradition), experience, and reason.

When considering what you are “hearing” from God in your own experience, you should bang it up against scripture and doctrine (official church teachings that have been distilled from the scriptures).

Anyway, that’s my input on the voice of God. Ultimately, there is a subjective component, but we are not left to fend for ourselves, wandering in a world of subjectivity – we have our own convictions and conscience, the real world that will push back on us if we believe something crazy, and the scriptures, to help us determine if what we are subjectively hearing is whacko or not.