Getting God to Break the Silence
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night, He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3, ESV)
“Cortney, I don’t know how I can keep doing this. I just feel like nothing is happening.”
“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Mostly, it seems like God forgot about me.”
“I don’t know where God is, but every time I try to sit with Him, He’s silent.”
These are variations of things I’ve been hearing a lot lately from my friends and confidants. And maybe
I’m a broken record, but I feel like I’ve been saying the same thing in response to it all: Sit still with Jesus. Don’t say anything. Don’t do anything but be with Him.
If you were talking to me earlier this year, I might have had different answers. I won’t lie, most of them would have been my own remedies, and probably all Christianese answers like: get into your Bible, dance before the Lord and come against anything that would keep you from Him, or try getting involved in a Christian community.
While all of these things are positive, yes, they all require one thing to really be genuine acts of worship to the Lord. Whether you are trying to get into scripture more, worship with a pure heart, or make real and honest connections with Christian community, you will need the God-glorifying desire to pursue those things. Without that, all of these actions will only be busy work meant to impress other people.
And if that’s the truth, then no wonder God’s been silent. Now, I’m not saying that my friends are terrible and lazy Christians. In fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. All of them are beautiful and strong people that walk so intimately and passionately with Jesus. We all have dry spells. We all have seasons where God is silent. Hey, even I have had those moments, and up until very recently, I was right there.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that when God is silent, we need to use that as our first indication to refocus. How do we refocus on Jesus? It’s simple, and it’s like anything else. We stop. We take a breath, and we get still.
Recently, I’ve put out a lot of devotions about the importance of sitting still with God. Mostly, I feel like it’s an act that’s so overlooked by Christians today because it's a hard thing to do. We are always doing something. In today’s society, and especially so in my generation, it’s almost seen as a shame if we’re not “on our grind” or making plans. But the fact of the matter is, that’s why we struggle to connect with God: because we forget to make time to stop and sit before Him. We forget to ask Him what His will is and we lack the discipline and endurance to stay still until he answers.
That’s why I love Psalm 1. Because it gives us a clear and concise picture of where we should be drawing our strength and honing our patience. It shows us how the righteous seek and find the Lord.
Draw away from people or things that take your eyes off Jesus.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;” (Psalm 1:1)
This part is simple: Are you keeping company with people that take your focus off of Jesus? Believe me, I’m speaking from experience. I used to surround myself with people who had little to no faith at all, and without fail, they all kept me numb to what the Lord was saying. So if you’re struggling to hear from God, try disconnecting from toxic relationships or friendships that lead you down paths you know are destructive and lukewarm.
It’s simple. The righteous have nothing to do with the company of sinners. Do we reach out to them to try and share the love of Jesus with them? Yes. Do we act as an example of how a God-glorifying lifestyle is the most fulfilling way to live? Yes. But there is a fine line between being a light in a dark place and allowing the darkness to desensitize you spiritually. Not only that, but a big part of getting still is getting alone, whether your circles are in Christian community or not.
2. Set your mind on Him
“... but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he meditates day and night…” (Psalm 1:2)
Once we’ve physically drawn ourselves into a quiet place with God, we can’t let our minds wander. Sometimes, we allow our needs, our complaints, and our love of self to get in the way of letting God speak. Sometimes, it’s unintentional on our part, but let me help you: you need to let that stuff go.
Setting our sights on Jesus means that we bring every thought captive before Him and get into His presence. We can do that through private worship, reading His word given to us and pondering it in our hearts, or praying only to glorify and magnify His name. Leave your laundry list at the door.
Eventually, getting into His presence will create a desire in our hearts to both stay there and return to that place of quietness when we find we have to go back to our hustle and bustle.
3. Don’t leave until He speaks
“...He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)
Sometimes, when we’re really doing a full-court press to hear from God about a specific thing, it takes endurance from us. Sometimes, we have to enter His presence saying, “Here I am, Lord. I need you to speak to me and I am not leaving until you do.” Sometimes, we have to plant ourselves before Him like a tree. Sometimes, it takes patience and spiritual endurance to see the fruit. In most of my experience, that’s is exactly what it takes: the determination to hear from God and the desperate act of petitioning Him to come because you need Him to.
Your battle with silence won’t be won with busy work, friend. It will only be won through stillness. You cannot be victorious in public until you’ve found Him in private. So if you’re finding yourself frustrated with the Lord’s silence this morning, try sitting with Him and consider staying there until He speaks.
Trust me. He will speak, you just have to give Him the time and your full attention. Chances are, that’s what He’s been waiting for this whole time.