Tim Bohlke » // writings

Deafening Silence

What do you do when God is silent? I mean extended wilderness kind of stuff. The kind of silence that makes you doubt.

I know a lot of the stories. I have actually preached on many of them. Moses spends forty years in the desert doing pretty much the same thing every day… forty years! Then one random day God seems to show up. Noah hears from God, then spends forty years building the ark before there is confirmation of the calling. Sarah waits for decades until she has the son she so longed for,David runs, hides and waits for his time to be king…  you have to wonder how quiet all those years of waiting were.


I wonder why it has to be that way. I wonder why God seems to stay so quiet, so mysterious, so silent. I wonder why we have to endure those lonely times, those long times in the wilderness wondering if He is real, asking if He still shows up, or if he still speaks to people. I recently had a talk with one of my kids who feels God has never really “shown up” in his own life. I have seen  God in his life  time and time again over the years, but that is my perspective. He wants to know if this spiritual journey is real, and if it is, why God seems so uninvolved, so silent, so seemingly disengaged in his life and in his perspective…in the lives of others around the world.

I have asked that question many times myself. Over the years, I have walked through deep disappointment at God’s silence after relentless prayers. I have watched the fate of so many around the world who are suffering and dying just because they are Christians… and I wonder why God doesn’t show up and make things right. I have a lot more questions than answers today, so I am not even going to try to wrap this up well. But I do know that throughout history this faith journey has been a struggle for many who chose to follow it. I do know that there have been times  when people just needed to move to the edge, and take a step on faith alone. Those often are the times when God showed up in incredible ways, and the times when there was a crack in the deafening silence. That has certainly been true in my own life. What I have seen in others is that those who keep moving, keep believing, keep taking steps of faith that seem to make no sense, those who keep pursuing God through all of it… they have a peace, a strength, a weightiness to them that is different. They act as almost an anchor to others when times get really tough.

I want to be like that. Sometimes it is the only thing that makes sense.

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