The Silence of God

The Silence of God

I asked my husband if our son had recovered from a bad cold.

“Didn’t you hear me?” His voice sounded kind. “You asked me earlier, and I said ‘Yes.’”

“I must’ve been thinking about three different things at the same time,” I said. “Sorry.”

Original MixmasterMy mind has been noisy lately. Too much going on…countless things to take care of …many concerns tainted with worry…an eight-lane highway of racing thoughts. I try to sit still with God in the mornings, but I haven’t been hearing much. On the other hand, I haven’t been saying much either.

Distraction is a part of feeling silence with God. I’m restless inside. Lists start to form, creating a need to pounce on the day. But something else is needling me.

There are things I’ve prayed about for years—even decades—that haven’t changed for the better. “I don’t know how to pray about this anymore, God…” A seed of disillusionment gets sown.

It’s not disappointment with God. I believe with deep conviction that His heart is good. He can be trusted, no matter what.

Rather, I don’t know how to participate with God through prayer when what He’s doing is far beyond what I understand. I pray, ask, plead, and contend for things—as I see it—but it might just be my agenda to fix things.

Maybe God is waiting for me to run out of words.

Are you done yet, Susan? His tone isn’t antagonistic.

“I guess so. I don’t know what to say.” Prayerlessness feels like such a dreadful sin.

Just be quiet with Me.

IMG_0335I got up at first light and opened the front door. The world outside was still. No cars on the road yet. Snowflakes floated down, making the most beautiful soft tapping sound on the fall leaves. A blanket of white covered the landscape as far as the eye could see.

I am making all things new. He said, pausing to let the words stick. You’ll see…

imagesMy eyes teared up. “But Lord… I don’t know how to pray about so many things—our eroding culture, the rise of lawlessness, our nation’s moral, financial, and spiritual decline. What will the future be like for my children, my grandchildren?”

The lyrics of an old song came to mind…


In the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more.

People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening[i]

“Is that what it’s like for You, God? A world so disconnected from its Creator that You want to push the mute button? The din of soul noise rises from earth. Does it include the well-intentioned prayers of people such as me?”

God doesn’t really reply.

My questions hang in the air. I want Him to give me The Plan.

My gut tightens. I have that same feeling when airplanes begin their descent and fly through clouds for what seems like an interminable amount of time. It’s nerve-racking. I get to the point where I can’t stand it another minute! Finally, we descend below the cloud ceiling and the land appears. My equilibrium soon returns.

747 jetGod recently gave me a dream like that when I fell asleep on a plane, ironically.

In the dream, the flight attendants had removed three rows of seats around the exit windows as a staging area to evacuate the plane. There wasn’t any turbulence. It didn’t feel like we were about to crash. But, I looked out the windows to see the very thing I dreaded–endless white. No blue sky above, no earth below. We were flying blind.

A familiar tension mounted. What would happen? Waiting without seeing was driving me mad. What did the airline staff know that they hadn’t told us? The plane droned on and on and on.

Then, abruptly, we broke through. Adrenaline flashed through my body lightning quick, because the plane was only thirty feet off the ground! And to make matters worse—we weren’t at the airport. I winced, as the wing barely missed a barn and then a farmhouse. I braced for a crash landing.

But the skilled pilot maneuvered the aircraft back into the sky to circle and try again. The flight attendants calmly placed lawn chairs where the exit row seats had been.

Wide-eyed and blinking, I started to breath again. What did it mean? What was God saying?

admin-ajax.phpMaybe that flying blind has to do with faith. Reality shifts can come suddenly, and so, we must be prepared to adjust quickly and land in unfamiliar places. Lawn chairs are seasonal and may represent a season of waiting in the unknown. Angels serve as our unruffled attendants. God is the skilled pilot. He’ll circle back and try again, training us in faith.

No matter how it feels, we are in good hands.

Without a doubt, we are living in unprecedented times. Admittedly, I feel at a loss for words sometimes when it comes to intercession, not only for the big picture, but also for specific people and situations. But I’m not to feel any condemnation or failure or discouragement. Sometimes, it’s okay to be quiet with the Lord. His seeming silence isn’t rejection. It’s training…a season for laying down how-I-see-it thoughts and prayers…a time to listen. And when I stand up to face the day, a simple prayer can cover it all…

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”


[i] “The Sounds of Silence,” written by Paul Simon


  1. Dear Susan,
    My husband and I have been flying blind for years. You captured this feeling SO well…thank you!

    Listening and waiting are spiritual gifts that are given to help us press into Him more. We all know the outcome as Christians (all things work for the good for those who love God) and ultimately Christ wins the final battle. BUT when flying blind, it can get to be quite nerve-racking waiting for the breakthroughs. So we continue to praise Him and wait for His perfect timing…this is not easy to do when we’re use to instant gratification in the Western culture.

    Loved your visit in Connecticut and pray for you and your ministry often. Press on dear friend!!!

  2. Lovely, Susan. As you may know, or will soon find out, I just spent a week in the hospital and am recovering in a rehab for a few days. It was an overdose of painkillers after meniscus surgery…! Scary…and humbling.
    But one thing of the many I’ve learned is there are times to let go and let God, like a little child.
    I finished your book in the hospital. Very good!! I was especially fascinated by the Ugandan section. Those poor kids; we have no idea. And how they rise out of and through all that trauma! God’s healing power is amazing and your work there critical.

  3. I’ve been full on distracted lately. I decided to take the day off from technology and so many memories and emotions were able to surface that I would not have felt if it weren’t for the silence. I absolutely need it because it’s where God underscores, hints and speaks. Thank you for the confirmation. I want to lay out a plan to contain the noise in my life because I’m missing out on reality, connection with myself and God.

  4. Wow, Susan, you sure captured my dilemma of morning devotion. I LOVE it, and generally dive into the Word, slobbering and gobbling. But for a few months I’ve not done that. I open it and wonder why I’m not eager or thirsty. Thirsty, but just not for my method of study or something. I need serene time with God, not frenetically praying, reading, taking notes. I forget, because I’m so performance-oriented, that God cherishes friend time. What, me, a friend to God? No, He really ‘needs’ somebody working frantically to get closer to Him. Friendship would be careless and lazy; right?
    Thank you for this post. I will re-read it a lot as I adjust my thinking about my ennui with study. I will enjoy practicing what you’re preaching.