When God is silent . . .

My Father is always working, and so am I.
— John 15:16

Do you ever feel like God is silent when you need to hear from him? You are hoping for "a whisper" or some indication that he's there, but you are not sensing anything.

It can be frustrating.

One afternoon I grabbed a magazine as I dashed out the door. I had hopes of mining a few nuggets during some quiet moments while I was out. I struck gold as I read an article by Tim Stafford. Stafford related a quote by Václav Havel, the former President of the Czech Republic:

The feeling that 'if nothing is happening, nothing is happening' is the prejudice of a superficial, dependent, and hollow spirit, one that has succumbed to the age and can prove its own excellence only by the quantity of pseudo-events it is constantly organizing, like a bee, to that end.

Stafford's point in quoting Mr. Havel was to challenge a prevalent assumption in the church: If we can't see it, feel it, or measure it nothing is happening. On the contrary, said Stafford, "When 'nothing is happening,' a great deal may be happening."

That is good to know, because it often feels like nothing is happening.

  • Your friend lies in a hospital bed . . . "nothing is happening."
  • A pastor labors with little results . . . "nothing is happening."
  • A parent prays and agonizes for her wayward child . . . "nothing is happening."  
  • You've gone another month with no job offer . . . "nothing is happening."
  • You've witnessed to that guy for years and he's still far away from God . . . "nothing is happening."
  • You had a dream that did not come to fruition . . . "nothing is happening."

When we fail to see immediate results or are unable to measure outcomes, we may conclude that God is not working. Adopting that attitude, however, says more about our impatience than about God's interest. Listen to the words of Jesus:

So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.  John 5:16-18 ESV

Did you catch it? "My Father is always working." In other words, when nothing is happening, a great deal is happening.

Just because you cannot see the work behind the scenes does not mean the Worker has retired. You may have toiled and prayed only to find life unchanged and heaven quiet. God has not forgotten you.

Your Father never stops working!

What does it mean for you to live in light of that reality today?


"The feeling that if ..." quoted in "The Third Coming of George Barna," in Christianity Today, August 5, 2002. www.christianitytoday.com