The indifference of God. Maybe you know what I’m talking about.
If you’re a believer, you’ve been taught that God cares for you. You’ve experienced that care, perhaps.
There have been times when I’ve rested in the arms of Jesus. Storms wail, waves crash, darkness looms, and yet I feel perfectly safe. He’s got me, in other words.
I was taught that I would never walk alone. What about those times when you don’t sense His presence at all? And before you climb up on your spiritual high horse and try to convince me that you’ve always known He’s there, I will tell you that part of your spiritual growth process is to experience the silence of God.
This is nothing new.
If you want to take this thought to its extreme manifestation, consider Jesus’ words from the cross:
How are we to respond to God’s silence? Is the indifference of God even a thing?
It is not. But that’s not to say that we should interpret God’s silence as His indifference.
In the bleakest of moments, you might have said to yourself, “No one cares.” The companion thought is, “No one understands.”
These are actual possibilities, I’m sorry to say. It’s unlikely, but there are people who genuinely don’t have anyone that cares about them. And to say “no one understands” is to some degree true of all of us. No one is going to completely “get” you because they aren’t you. If you don’t always understand your thoughts and actions, it’s not likely anyone else is, either.
My Sunday School diploma gives me the authority to say this: God cares. God understands.
Don’t blow that off as simplistic or just a t-shirt slogan. I don’t think the issue is believing those statements – the problem comes in making them a reality in your life.
What can you do, then? When God is silent, are there steps you can take to assure yourself that He is indeed there and is continually present?
- Understand that the silence of God is not the indifference of God. God, by His nature, cannot be indifferent. He is intimately involved in every aspect of your life.
- If you’re wondering if God cares, let me direct you toward the Cross. That’s proof aplenty.
- God routinely takes us to places of desperation. I’d be presumptuous to try to explain why. I think it has everything to do with our personal growth and maturity in Christ. He leaves us to our own desires, and we wander far afield. Like the prodigal in the far country, He engineers circumstances to take us to a place of hopelessness. If we’re reasonably intelligent, self-inflicted hopelessness should point us to repentance. Repentance leads to restoration.
- Part of God’s strategy with us is when He seals up the heavens and you not only don’t “hear” from Him through scripture or prayer, you can’t even tell if He’s around.
- This is much, much different from the human “silent treatment.” That passive-aggressive tactic is deployed to make someone feel guilty or unworthy. That’s not how God rolls. Quite the opposite.
- God’s silence is intended to move us to a place of longing. We experience a leanness in our souls. We move into a place on dependence on Him. You don’t take Him for granted anymore.
- When the time is right – and He determines the time – He’ll break through. It’s incumbent on us to put ourselves in a place where we can hear and discern clearly.
- Just because you can’t feel His presence is no evidence that He isn’t there. Feelings are great betrayers. Don’t base your relationship with God on how you feel.
Can you trust Him no matter what?
It’s easy to trust God when the bush is burning and you hear His voice. You can easily trust Him when the waters part before you and you can cross safely on dry land. It’s those times of silence that are disturbing.
Guess what? You are not exempt from God’s silence.
If silence serves His purposes and causes you to yearn for Him, you can count on Him to be very, very quiet.
It’s easy for me to say “hang on.” It’s much tougher to have to be the one who’s hanging. I believe your best strategy is to acknowledge that we all experience those times of silence, from the weakest believer to to the strongest saint. Godtrusts you enough to let you experience His silence. There is no such thing as the indifference of God. When He refuses to speak, take comfort in knowing He’s up to something big. He is going to grow you in a totally unexpected fashion.
Go with that. He’ll never leave you or forsake you.
I’d be honored if you would visit my blog at https://youcanhavehope.com and subscribe to receive helpful, encouraging notes from time to time. ~ Tony ~
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