Friday, January 17, 2014

Hearing Him When He's Not Speaking

"Do not be silent to me"
Psalm 28:1

I read an interesting quote the other day, by C.S. Lewis. 

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It was in a letter to his brother Warren, and he referenced a time in which a series of his letters had not reached Warren.  He said, "I was delighted to get your letter this morning... I had deliberately written nothing to you since (the disappearance of my last two letters).  Not that I was tired of the job, but because I did not feel disposed to go on posting into the void.  That seemed a process too much like prayer for my taste.  The trouble about God is that He sometimes like a person who never acknowledges one's letters and so, in time, one comes to the conclusion that either he does not exist, or you have got the address wrong."

And I must say, I have certainly felt that way.  It can be frustrating to pray, especially when we're going through a trial and want explanation.  Or when we have a decision to make and we want God to show us what to do.

But I also recently read this, about God's communication with Abraham after the near sacrifice of Isaac:  "God never spoke to Abraham again.  Abraham's reward for obeying God's voice was never to have to hear it again."

Now, there's lots of opinion in these two quotes.  Lewis clearly thought it was a bad thing to not hear from God.  The second author {I'm so sorry I can't remember where I read that quote} is of the belief that Abraham was relieved by God's silence. 

Lewis' words are his own opinion, but it's a little hard for me to fully accept the words about Abraham.  We don't know for sure that God never talked to Abraham again, we only know what's recorded in the Bible.  And even if that was the case, we don't know if Abraham was sad or happy about it. 

The author of the Abraham quote also said, "We say we want to hear from God, but what might He say to us?  What might He ask of us?"  I thought that was an interesting way to look at silence from God.  Even when I'm wishing I could hear from God, there's always the chance I won't like what He has to say.

Which side do you fall on?  Or maybe somewhere in between?  It's a good reminder to be grateful for what we do get.  A reminder that communication with Him is just another area in which we need to trust His judgement. 

The good news is, I don't really have to ever feel that God is silent.  We have His Word ~ which Abraham did not.  I believe that everything I need is in there, and it's up to me to apply His wisdom to my life the best I can.

And regardless of whether or not I "hear" Him the way I want to, I'm content to remember that He always hears me.

~ "please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open,
that You may hear the prayer of your servant" ~
Nehemiah 1:6


  1. Interesting post. Mother Theresa reportedly heard only silence for decades, but she continued serving nonetheless. I remember vividly a day 14 years ago when I had been going through a particularly dry period for a while. I was in my car alone, leaving the house. At the front of the subdivision, just before turning onto the main road, I said aloud, "Lord, if I never hear from You again, I'm still going to trust You." It was a kind of bedrock statement, a defining moment that has served as an anchor for me since that day.

    I'm not sure I agree that everything I need is in His Word (written) but I do agree that everything I need is in His Word (Son). It's comforting to read a love letter from someone, but not nearly as comforting as being held in the loved one's arms.

    I'm rambling. I do like when your posts make me think.

  2. All your thoughts are well spoken, and well received. As always, I'm glad you shared!