The Judeo-Christian tradition has viewed God to be personal; One to be prayed to, a Deity who desires relationship; a Divine Being interested in the affairs of humankind.
As a child, raised in a religious environment that emphasized a “personal relationship with Jesus,” it made sense that I would talk with Jesus.
Prayer was a religious practice instilled in me by my parents and others in the church. However, when I did pray, it seemed that I was the only one talking.
I was in awe of those “Godly Saints” who would casually say: “God told me,” or “God spoke to me.”
“What’s wrong with me,” I questioned? Evidently, I had not discovered the right way to talk with God. Perhaps something in my life was preventing God from speaking to me.
With a strong desire to hear God’s voice, I took a mental inventory of any actions on my part that would prevent God from speaking to me: Hitting Bob Miller on the school play ground; using a curse word to have my friends think I was “cool”; etc. No matter how hard I tried to clean my life up, to amend my ways, and even invoke “holy” words in my prayers… God continued to remain silent.
Over the years, I began to be skeptical of those who seemingly had this direct connection with God. I discovered that sometimes the things God “supposedly” told people were – well, ridiculous!
Like the time a man told my mother that God wanted her to play a fast song at the altar time, because the last time she played a fast song, Brother Jones kicked the altar three times! No, I’m not kidding!
It was evident that the man believed God’s active presence could only be observed through exuberant demonstrations.
I’ve never heard the audible voice of God. I’ve read of prophets and leaders who heard God. I’ve known of others whom I’m confident have received direction from God. And, I do believe God speaks to us. But how, when, and why?
For most of my life, it has seemed that God is more silent than talkative. And candidly, that annoys me; especially, when I need answers. It bothers me that God’s silence is so loud when our world is so troubled.
Is it possible that silence is the necessary prelude to God’s voice (1 Kings 19:11-13; Job 4:16)?
Is it conceivable that in our desire for immediate answers, we forget that trust is forged in silence (Psalm 62:1)?
Could it be that God has already spoken in Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21) and we’re just too distracted to hear what God has said?
The silence of God does not reveal God’s absence. Silence is the incubator in which my faith grows!
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.”
– Psalm 62:1 (NRSV)