WHEN GOD SEEMS DISTANT OR SILENT
Is God really distant from his children? Or do circumstances make us believe that He is?
Even David in Psalms 83 experienced a moment he felt God was actually silent. He could no longer contain himself, he had to cry out to God for help asking why he was silent and distant from him.
First of all the word ‘seems’ means to appear like. That means it looks like but it is not what it actually is.
Let’s take Elijah as a case study.
I Kings chapter 19.
Right after chapter 18 with major victories. We see chapter 19. It’s in chapter 18 that the drought of 3 and a half years ended. Elijah put into action the word of God” I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19.
He proceeded to put the prophets of Baal in their place, fire came down.
But in chapter 19 God seems far away. So far that Elijah ad to run away, yet God was silent.
He had to run for his dear life at the threat of Jezebel. Then in verse 3, he prayed a distraught prayer.
1 Kings 19:3 KJV- he was asking God to take his life.
It was a discouraging prayer, God was nowhere near Elijah and he could feel it or so he thought.
Are there times we feel God is nowhere near us?
In fact in this journey called life, we will experience storms, delays, over and over again. But there is a way out. Hallelujah !
Verse 4 caught my attention. With all that was going on, Elijah went to sleep.
How can one be sleeping at that point?
The bible didn’t state if the sleep was due to sheer exhaustion or God induced it. But we do know that he slept.
Recently, Mommy Bamiloye answered a question as someone wanted to know what to do when God is silent. She gave a simple, yet profound answer.
“Go to sleep”
Child of God, you’ve prayed and prayed yet God seems far, you’ve called and called, yet He’s ‘not’ answering, Could you do well to just sleep?
It’s easier said than done, I know. But things happen when godly people sleep under the Savior’s watch.
Notice I said ‘ sleep under the Savior’s watch‘.
It means that you are telling him, all of the storms, the unanswered prayers, the questions, and the confusion, HE knows all of them and you trust him to bring you the right answer. You are leaving Him to do the work alone while you relax and see the answers manifest.
But what happens when we sleep and nothing is showing forth?
I hear you ask?
Then you’re not really sleeping. Because in sleeping you become only conscious to the Savior’s touch
Before we go ahead let’s look at things that could make God seem distant.
1. Sin – Isaiah 59 vs 1–
Nothing withholds God’s hands and cause Him not to act for us than sin. If sin is the cause then deal with it, ask God for forgiveness and disentangle your self from such sin.
And the devil knows so he brings the hurt subtly afresh again to you and you begin to replay it.
One of the subtle issues that have robbed us today of divine help is unforgiveness. I mean that kind that says ” I’ve forgiven you” but as you walk away you mutter in your heart. ” I’ll never have anything to do with you again lai lai”. Yet each time you hear a similar situation or sees the person, the scenario comes back afresh. Let it go.
3. Worry- worry is just a mixture of faithlessness and fear.
It is putting your burdens down at the Savior’s feet then going back to check and check, after a while you pick it up and walk around with it. When you feel its weight again you bring it back to the Savior’s feet. But you never really take your eyes off it. Worry.
During my undergrad years, I experienced what I felt a silent period from God.
Here was I a teenage girl from Nigeria, far away in another land. I knew God brought me here ( testimony for another day). I was one of the best students in my secondary school days. But when I started college here I cannot seem to understand.
The first and second year was great but the third year was hard, I mean really hard. After failing my core classes, I lost my Gov’t aid. I feared that I would be kicked out. During this time, I was near depression. I would check my life over and over but everywhere was closed. Just locked. My friend stood by me, praying for me and with me, yet God was silent and very distant.
The shocking part was that I would teach my colleagues, they will pass and I will fail
As one of the praise and worship leader at church, I started to feel sad each time I climbed the pulpit to minister.
But surprisingly God always takes the glory.
But I began to worry.
I remembered one of the days, I had to lie after failing my exams, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell my classmate I had failed. Again!. I got on the bus to go back home and as I spoke with my mom, I told her what I did and I cried.
People on the bus were teary-eyed too. What could make this young girl cry so loud
And I was never a cry cry baby fa!
My family was praying, the church was praying and I was praying. I had told God I wanted to graduate with honors. But after failing so many times. I just wanted to finish and be done.
I opted to change my major to something else. Until my pastor stopped me.
He said ‘ Fortune, anything that God starts he finishes’
That hit me hard. I went back to pray and God said
” If you will learn to trust me, without alternatives, then I will show up”. I’m just paraphrasing here.
At that point, I wept and hands up. I was done worrying. I was done with depression.
This brings me to my next point.
4. No alternatives.
God will be distant when we have alternatives
Child of God hear this ”
*The Lord chooses when and how to reveal his glory,* but until then, no alternatives ”
This is you saying to God, I know there are options, I know there are alternatives but as for me, it is only You or You.
Ahhh, God honors such prayers and He moves heaven and earth to come through for you.
Back to my testimony
The weekend before our major exam we had a program at church ( I’m active with the campus ministry too). From Thursday till Sunday I was busy with the program and the exam was on Monday fa.
I read only on Sunday evening and GOD SHOWED UP’.
When the result came I not only got one of the best grades in the class, that was the beginning of my breakthroughs.
I graduated with my RN ( cum laude). BSN, out of a 4.0 CGPA. I had 3.95 CGPA.
I graduated with Summa cum laude ( Highest honors). That is first class in Nigeria
Psalm 145: 18 and 19 show us that God is not distant. No, he is not. Here’s what it says;
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
So what do I do when God is distant?
1. Check your life. – let sin not reign over your mortal bodies as becometh saints.
2. Know your rights in Christ. – sometimes the promises are not activated coz we don’t know who we are as children of God.
3. Rest in Faith ( Sleep)
4. Let your worship soar. There’s power in worship.
5. Keep your prayer altar burning
6. Know the Word, Speak the word, encourage your self in the word as David did.
” the words that I speak to you, they are Spirit and they are life”
7. Words of affirmation
SHUT THE DEVIL UP.!
8. Remain in His promise
9. Pray, Pray , Pray – the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Pray till your joy is full.
10. Don’t stay alone. Have a godly friend who can keep you accountable and you can knock on heaven’s door together. My friend was one of my strongest support. Sometimes she would just hold me and bring food for me to eat. But she was always praying.
When God is silent or seems distant,
He wants you to grow.
I king 19 vs 7,8.
God wanted to teach Elijah some things. After that encounter, Elijah went for 40 days till he came to Horeb. God was waiting for him there to school him, to help him grow.
So till God comes through. Grow in grace.
I’ll leave you with these verses
Psalms 16 vs 8
2 Tim. 4 vs 17.
Psalms 5 vs 12.
Don’t forget to sleep under the Savior’s watch. You are loved!
Heavenly Father we thank you. I’m excited to have a Father like You and knowledge of this swells my heart. Thank you for the Cross.
Thank you for your love.
I’ve been thinking you are distant but now I know you want me to grow You. You want me to sleep and you want me to rest in you. Today I come to you, put me in that unconscious sleep that I am only aware of your touch and power. ( tear your request) Today I tear my requests and I promise not to allow worry make me go back to pick them again. I rest in you.
I sleep, Lord, I’m sleeping in You. Thank you for hearing and answering me. In Jesus name Amen.