When God is Silent
- Habakkuk 1:2
- Job 23: 3-7
- Luke 22: 36-38
- Psalms 35:11-13
- Matthew 11:18-19
- Habakkuk 1:2-3
- Habakkuk 1:13
- Psalms 62:5-6
- Habakkuk 3:17
- Luke 18:1-8
- What Not to Do
- Don’t Get Lost in the Reason
- Don’t Create Your Own Reasons
- Don’t Mistake Momentum For Instruction
- What to Do When God is Silent
- Read / Memorize The Scriptures
- Do the Last Thing You Heard
- Pour out your unedited prayers...complaints
- Confess your doubts, disappointments, and struggles
- Trust that God is still at work
- Continue to Praise God
- Keep Asking
- Keep Serving
- Conclusion: Don’t Let the Circumstance Distract You from God
Who are some of the great Christians of recent times?
- What about saints?
- Who exemplified loving your neighbor?
- the Nobel Peace Prize
- She is (literally) a saint
Jesus has a very special love for you. [But] as for me--The silence and the emptiness is so great--that I look and do not see,--Listen and do not hear.
--MOTHER TERESA TO THE REV. MICHAEL VAN DER PEET, SEPTEMBER 1979
- Yet she stopped hearing from God
2 How long, O LORD, will I call for help,
And You will not hear?
I cry out to You, “Violence!”
Yet You do not save.
God responds in 5 ways
- Direction / Clarity / Guidance
When God is Silent (Previous)
What to do and what not to do when Go is silent
What Not to Do
Don’t Get Lost in the Reason
Job 23: 3-7
3“Oh that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might come to His seat!
4“I would present my case before Him
And fill my mouth with arguments.
5“I would learn the words which He would answer,
And perceive what He would say to me.
6“Would He contend with me by the greatness of His power?
No, surely He would pay attention to me.
7“There the upright would reason with Him;
And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.
- Job dreamed of getting to ask God why...
Story: thrown off of Venice beach
- Get yo hands off of my car
- Never got a reason why
Job Didn’t Get an Answer
Job never got an explanation of his calamity
Job’s most excruciating pain was not knowing why
- If we know the reason we can accept it
“In asking ‘why’ Job loses his way”
Job’s friends had a kindergarten Theology
- Good deeds are always rewarded and bad deeds are always punished
Always make wise decisions in the light It will stand you in good stead when you are in the dark.
When you are in the dark you always examine yourself. Is this because I did so and so is this because I didn’t do so-and-so. But if you know you have done good you will only ask yourself what is God trying to teach me.
You Need to Know “Who” not “Why”
Story: I can’t be lost grandpa cause I’m with you
It’s not “why” that you need to know but you need to know “who”
- Remember who is with you
Don’t Create Your Own Reasons
Has anyone ever done something and then you came up with a whole story in your head asked why happened or how it played out and then when you found out the facts it was completely different than what you had imagine. Even though you had become very angry or emotional about the scenario that you came up with in your head.
Story: planned to go to brunch
- Wouldn’t answer phone
- “So did you have fun?”
- Was my sister’s bday
- Was with your sis and mom
The worst thing to happen isn’t the actual events but how you interpret them.
We do the same thing when God doesn’t get us out of a scenario.
- We had a plan
- Did I do the wrong thing?
- Does God not like me?
We made all, these plans in our head without involving God
Pain makes us ______ things that aren’t true
Don’t Mistake Momentum For Instruction
Luke 22: 36-38
36“Now, however,” He told them, “the one with a purse should take it, and likewise a bag; and the one without a sword should sell his cloak and buy one. 37For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about Me is reaching its fulfillment.”
38So they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That is enough,” He answered.
Example: Peter cut off the Roman soldier’s ear
Don’t mistake God's silence for instructions to do what you want to do
What to Do When God is Silent
Read / Memorize The Scriptures
Story: Chinese evangelist Wang Ming Dao In prison
- Sang hymns every day
Memorize the scriptures
- That will be all you have with you at some times
Memorize when you’re in the light so that when you’re in the darkness and the valley that’s what you’ll feed on as you go through
Read Proverbs and Psalms
Do the Last Thing You Heard
- Stay with last clear word
Go back to what He already said
- Sometimes God withholds because he wants us to apply truths He’s given us
- He may have given you a passage of scripture that addresses it
Example: leaving your church when the Pastor resigns
- if God told you to join He needs to be the one to tell you to leave
11 Malicious witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good,
To the bereavement of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting,
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.
- Sackcloth shows humility of the body
- Fasting = humbling your soul
- It made your prayers more effective
Humble yourself and pray (in the bible) = fast and pray
Fasting is only abstaining from food
Hearing From God
Bring you closer
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
John the Baptist was fasting - “he must have a demon”
- Fasting was a way to get rid of demons
Pour out your unedited prayers...complaints
2How long, O LORD, must I call for help
but You do not hear,
or cry out to You, “Violence!”
but You do not save?
3Why do You make me see iniquity?
Why do You tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me.
Strife is ongoing, and conflict abounds.
Habakkuk is not afraid to ask are the hard questions
Righteous prayers are unfiltered prayers directed to God
Confess your doubts, disappointments, and struggles
13 Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And You can not look on wickedness with favor.
Why do You look with favor
On those who deal treacherously?
Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up
Those more righteous than they?
God told Habakkuk his plan
- Habakkuk told God he did not like his plan
Story: God says he is going to raise up the Chaldeans (Babylonians)
God will use all types of things to get his people on track when they refuse to listen
Tell God “It’s not fair”!
- Even though it’s your will
It’s Okay to Doubt
Doubt doesn’t separate you from God
There can’t really be faith without doubt
Trust that God is still at work
5 My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
You’re going to keep depending on God no matter
- What the circumstances look like
- What other people are saying
- Your fears and doubts
- The odds
Continue to Praise God
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
But Even If Faith
By chapter 3 Habakkuk is praising God even though things aren’t going the way he wanted
He is still going to follow God
1Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, 2saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. 3“There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ 4“For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” 6And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; 7now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8“I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
You keep praying.
You don’t lose heart. Here’s why:
- It may be that circumstances require changing before you can get the answer.
- It may be that the answer depends on someone else responding to God.
It may be that the delay is to see how seriously you are willing to pray.
- Canaanite Woman (dog)
- Jacob wrestled with God
It doesn’t matter what you think you deserve. It doesn’t matter how you think God should act. Keep knocking.
Mother Teresa's letter to Michael Vander Pete
"Jesus has always had a special love for you but as for me the silence and the emptiness is so great"
Mother Theresa had asked that her letters be destroyed when she died but the church did not destroy them. It revealed that all the time she was doing her work she had doubts and she wrestled almost every day with the silence of God. All the while she was healing and loving and professing this presence of God she was agonized by silence.
Conclusion: Don’t Let the Circumstance Distract You from God
Story: Jesus walking on the water
- Matthew 14:22-33
When Jesus was walking on the water the disciples thought he was a ghost
- What you fear may actually be Jesus
Peter knew Him by His voice
- When you hear from God you’ll have courage
- When you hear from God you’ll have faith
Peter got scared of the wind
- Don’t focus on the problem
- Focus on Jesus
Story: telegraph operator interview
There were clear instructions being given but they couldn’t hear it because they were complaining
Continue your quiet time even if the issue is that you’re super busy
Don’t focus on the storm
- Focus on Jesus
Don’t let your _____ keep you from hearing
Don't let your circumstances distract you from God
Instructor: Michael Leadon
When God Doesn’t Answer Why
— Sandy Adams
When God doesn’t respond to our prayers
Bethel church live
When God is silent – HCC podcast
When God is silent podcast
Steve DeNeff - Matthew 15:21-28
Why Does God Seem Silent When You Need Him The Most? | Q & A | Ravi Zacharias
Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith