I had the awesome opportunity to speak in Youth Group a couple weeks ago and as I was preparing to write this Pastor’s Blog, I felt that I needed to share what I spoke about in Youth Group. The teens are going through a message series called “Even If…” right now (based on the MercyMe song “Even If”). I titled my message “Even If God seems Silent… LISTEN” and shared my testimony.
During the fall of my senior year at Olivet, as a Music Ministry major, I got sick, lost my voice for 5 months, and lost hearing in one ear for 4 months. Doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me and they had no diagnosis. I was just told to rest, and drink fluids to heal. After 1 month of resting and fluids, I was sick of it. There was no end in sight and it scared me. I was a music ministry major whose job was going to be singing and using my voice on a daily basis. Questions raced through my head: What are you doing God? Why am I not getting better? If you called me into worship ministry, why are you taking away my voice? It seemed as though there was no answer. It felt like God was silent with me. Have you ever been there? Have you felt that God has been silent with you? Maybe you are even in that season now?
As the months passed and still no healing, I began to just sit and listen. I couldn’t talk so maybe God was making me be silent to listen?! I went to Orpheus Choir rehearsal and sat and listened. I ACTUALLY LISTENED. I tried to drown it out, but God was using the songs that Orpheus was singing to speak to me. It was as if God was trying to teach me to listen to him in a different way. Music has always spoken to me, but this was different. God was speaking in new ways, in ways that allowed me to trust Him on a deeper level, to understand that He hadn’t left me. We were reading scripture during our devotion time and a passage that I had read over and over again that never “clicked”, SPOKE something so different and life giving to me. “Speak Lord, for your Servant is Listening”- 1 Samuel 3:9. I began to listen in a different way to what God was trying to say to me and teach me. This started the healing process of my heart to know that God was still there, He was still working, and He hadn’t left me. Within 1 month I had full hearing back and within 2 months my voice was back!
So what do we do when God is Silent? What did I learn from being silent and listening when He seemed silent? 1) Don’t ignore the silence and don’t shut God out. Just because He seems silent, we should not stop communicating with Him. Scripture shows moments where God was silent, but what did those people do? They kept crying out to Him. Job went through trial after trial and God was silent, but he cried out to God still (Job 19:7). David cried out to God when God was silent with him (Psalm 22:1-2). There are times in our lives where God may seem silent, and we may be going through a spiritually dry spot, but this should encourage us to listen, dig deeper, trust and rely on God. 2) Go back to the basics. Remember that God promises to never leave us or forsake us. Remember that he is always in a constant state of communication with us, but He may be speaking in a different way. Remember to choose to still worship Him in the silence. Rejoice in the silence – Habakkuk 3:17-18. 3) Read your Bible. Don’t forget to dig into God’s Word – His written communication to us –find out about what He has to say about the problems you are facing or the questions you are asking! We silence the sound of God’s voice in our lives when we leave our Bible on the shelf. I know it is easy to leave the Bible to the side when you feel like God isn’t communicating at all. But…“Complaining about God being silent when your Bible is closed is like complaining about not getting texts when your phone is turned off.” 4) LISTEN. Silent times can be an opportunity for growth and depth with God, but we must have a seeking heart and a desire to LISTEN to His voice. God says “Listen for my voice” seven times in the Bible and then seven more times just in the book of Revelation. Listen for His voice in new and fresh ways, listen even in the silence. This week, I challenge you to SIT AND LISTEN to what God is trying to say to you. He is working and moving even in silence. Be expectant to HEAR His voice.
–Pastor Bri Hickman