Perhaps you have been seeking God for a fresh vision for your life. You may have been asking for guidance and direction. Crying out to Him for understanding and wisdom. Waiting upon Him to answer your prayers, for months on end, and all you get is silence.

First, you must realize that you are not the Lone Ranger. King David said in Psalm 28:1: “To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.”

Another writer of the Psalms, Asaph, writes in Psalm 83:1: “Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God!”

Famous clergymen such as Oswald Chambers, Martin Lloyd-Jones, C. H. Spurgeon and C.S. Lewis had the same experience. After C. S. Lewis lost his wife to cancer, he called out to God for comfort but sensed no reply. Confused, he asked, “What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?”

Realizing that we are not alone in experiencing God’s silence helps us place value on the process and embrace it. Knowing that other believers have successfully traveled the “silent” path and completed their journey encourages us. Their dedication to seek His face and to allow His plan to play out inspires us to remain on the “silent” path; instead of trying to find another way.

Second, during times of silence, we need to press in closer to God; we need to trust Him more, not less! Our natural reaction is, “If He’s not speaking to me, I won’t talk to Him either.” Or we think that in His silence He is angry with us and doesn’t want to speak with us. Both responses could not be farther from the truth!

Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

To “trust” means to place your hope and confidence in God. In other words, “Trust the Lord with every fiber of your being.”

“Lean not on your own understanding.” Why? Our own understanding competes with our ability to trust in Him. This really means to abandon self-reliance.

“In all your ways acknowledge Him” implies that we need to give Him glory; when things go well and when things don’t go so well. It means being a witness for Him wherever you find yourself, whether in the valleys or on the mountain tops. We must acknowledge Him in everything we do, fight for what is right, stand for holiness and purity and be obedient to His Word.

“He shall direct your paths,” this is the fruit of “trusting-leaning-acknowledging.” To “direct” means to direct in the right way, to make smooth or straight. He may direct your paths through tests, through trials, through sorrows, through discipline, or through correction. But the goal is always a straight path.

Our logic, our reason will want to oppose His direction. It is not easy, but what makes you able to trust Him is that you comprehend and acknowledge His love for you and faithfulness to you. Especially, if you don’t see it yet. This verse ends with a future promise, “He shall direct your paths.” Not He might, but He shall!

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Third, we need to remind ourselves that God is always at work. Even if we can’t see it! Jesus reminds us in John 5:17, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” If God is always working, how then do we explain delays in His answers to prayer?

Remember that God’s delays are not the delays of inactivity, but of preparation.

Romans 8:28 tells us that God works in all things at all times, causing all things to work together to accomplish all His purposes. Read 1 John 5:14-15. The moment we send Him a request, that is in His will, God begins to work. We may not see it now, but the answer is on its way!

Chambers, the remarkable Scottish-born pastor, artist and musician, says: “God’s silences are actually His answers. His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible — with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him — He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty.”

If this is the case for you, do not despair. The Lord is about to bring you into a deeper, richer, more intimate relationship with Him!

Steve Sager is pastor of the Calvary Chapel of St. Helena. He wrote this for the weekly Thursday Pulpit series that runs in the St. Helena Star and Weekly Calistogan

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