Why is it that God sometimes seems silent or absent in the life of a believer?
Christians sometimes feel God is silent or is not answering prayers. Is this true? First, the Bible is clear that God is always present. We may not always "feel" like He is near, but He is. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus promised, "I am with you always, to the end of the age."
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In addition, there are times or reasons God may seem silent in our lives. One possibility is due to our own disobedience. When we choose our own way rather than following God, we may feel He is no longer close to us. When this happens, we are called to confess our sins (1 John 1:9) and to, "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you" (James 4:8).
But what about times when we are already seeking God and it still seems He is silent? David responded by calling out to the Lord to answer him: "To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit" (Psalm 28:1). In the end, God heard him: "Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield" (Psalm 28:6-7).
If we are not living in disobedience and are already calling out to God, another reason God may seem silent is due to a time of testing. Jesus faced such a test on the night of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:39). He knew God was listening, but in His time of trouble it seemed the Father was silent.
In these times of testing or struggle, our goal is to faithfully endure. The Christian life is not always easy. We are called to follow God even when it is most difficult and God may seem far from us. In Paul's final letter, he encouraged Timothy, "Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:3). Even while in prison and near death, Paul realized his goal was to faithfully endure suffering. God was with him, even when his life was at its most difficult point. His goal was to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).
Finally, it is also possible there are physical or mental reasons God may seem silent. When we are sick, tired, or have other physical issues taking place, it can impact how we feel spiritually as well. In these situations, we can consult with medical professionals as necessary to help with health needs, while realizing God is still with us during such situations.
God is always with us, even when He may seem silent. As Scripture promises, "We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
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