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When God is Silent

Sometimes life hands us struggles from out of nowhere that are unimaginably hard. God is silent and there are no answers. What do we do in these times? #Biblestudy #Job #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls

Suffering can hit anywhere and anytime.

None of us are fully prepared for the day when our life takes an unexpected twist.  Like jumping into a cold lake, no one can prepare you for the shock your body experiences, until after you have experienced it.

Job’s suffering came out of nowhere – it was unforeseen – it caught him off guard.  The circumstances in Job’s life were unexplainable to him.

Have you been there?

Perhaps it was a routine doctor appointment, that turned into years of fighting cancer.

Or maybe it was the phone call in the night, of the news of the death of a loved one, that turned your life upside down.

Or perhaps a loss of pregnancy or maybe it was a parent walking out on your family, when you were a child.

The unimaginable happens and suffering doesn’t just strike once – it lingers and it is painful.  

The journey of suffering doesn’t make sense and that is why Job asked over 25 times: “why, why, why”.  He asked this question again and again.  But every time Job spoke – he addressed God in some way – he KNEW God was there, even though God was silent.

God doesn’t always give us answers but he does give us…

Himself.

Job’s wrestling was less about the presence of God and more about the silence of God.

God knows better than we do, what we need.  We think it is answers, but have you ever taken a problem to your husband or a friend and they gave you answers and solutions when all you really wanted was a long hug and the presence of their listening ear.  While their advice may be helpful, sometimes we just need to know they are there.  It’s their presence that we need.

So what do we do when God is silent?

  • We go into His presence in prayer.
  • We go into His presence in His Word.
  • We walk in His ways and do not depart from His commands.
  • We treasure His Words over everyone else’s.

Job says in Job 23:10-12

But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
11 My foot has held fast to his steps;
    I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
    I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.

Job has entered the fiery furnace of suffering and he is sure that after his trial, he will come forth as gold.

Gold does not fear the fire.  The fire only makes it purer.

Warren Wiersbe writes:

“When God puts His own people into the furnace, He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat.  He knows how long and how much.

Some people go into the furnace of affliction and it burns them; others go in and the experience purifies them.  What makes the difference?  Their attitude towards the Word of God and the will of God.  If we are nourished by the Word and submit to His will, the furnace experience, painful as it may be, will refine us and make us better.  But if we resist God’s will and fail to feed on His truth, the furnace will only burn us and make us bitter.”

Don’t let yourself become burnt and bitter by the fire of your trials.

Rather – surrender yourself to God’s plan for your life, trust in His sovereignty and goodness and hold fast to His ways.

Even in the silence and unanswered prayers – God is with us.

Let His presence be enough.

May you come out of your trial as gold! Pure gold!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

For Further Reading
The GMG Leadership Team is Blogging Through the Bible Too! You can visit their blogs here:

Becoming a Godly Wife – Bridget
Misty Leask – Misty
Rosilind Jukic – Rosilind
Worshipful Living – Mandy

40 Comments

  1. I understand what you are saying here. I know that I should trust God with my future and my struggle and suffering. But after 6 years of infertility my husband and I are broken, hurt , and we don’t see God’s goodness in this area of our lives. This deep desire to have children is forever in our hearts and we are being robbed as a couple and our marriage and family life. I know God is good and he loves us. But I don’t like what he’s doing. I don’t agree with it and I’m bitter. I know this is wrong of me but its not the best. He’s supposed to have the best for us and this isn’t it. I’m in pain everyday
    I suffer everyday and grieve what I do not have. Please pray for answers and a miracle. Why must we suffer like this?

    1. Jill,
      There are many ways to become a mom. ….maybe God has a wonderful baby who needs you as mommy and you just have to go a different path than you were originally thinking.
      Brigid

    2. Oh Jill,
      My momma heart hears you and knows your longing. My husband and I struggled for years to conceive and had given up our hopes that it would happen…then it did! I feel that God knew when the time was right and I just wanted for it to be when I felt the time was right. I fell to my knees again when we miscarried and struggled for a sibling for our beautiful daughter. Again, we gave up and decided we were only going to be blessed with our one precious miracle…then God again showed us that our timing was not his timing. 5 years later we welcomed another daughter. Be kind to yourself. Love one another. Trust that, in His time, your child will come to you in whatever way He chooses. Children come in all kinds of way. ❤️

    3. Jill,

      On the Bible app which you can listen to on Bible.com there is a study called “Infertility Encouragement from Sarah’s Laughter” maybe you should read it to stay encouraged. Trust in the LORD don’t let bitterness take root in your heart.

    4. Oh sweet sister. I want to share with you s remarkable testimony of Gods faithfulness. A very sweet couple from our last church tried for many many years to have children and nothing. The Lord led them down to path of adoption and their girl from ithiopia filled their emptiness and they were complete. So they thought. After 3 years she was pregnant. Not with one, but two babies. See, theirs eyes and heart shifted to thankfulness. They were so grateful for their little girl that God blessed them even more. And today they now four babies! Through it all they did not let their waver. Were they sad and discouraged? Of course they were but they believed that was bigger than anything would ever desire. I want to encourage you to trust Him. The enemy wants you to to feel like God hasn’t been there, or he wants you to give up. Oh sweet sister, you hold on to the hope of being a mama. God is able! Ephesians 3:20 promises that He able to give you more than you will ask or imagine! Trust Him! He is faithful and His timing is always perfect! Will be praying for you!

    5. Jill, I understand and have been in your shoes. My family life is a little different though since we had a daughter, but we wanted another child. We went through many stressful years ( multiple miscarriages, etc) and were never able to have another child on our own. My husband wasn’t interested in adoption so that wasn’t the answer. Over the years I filled that desire by helping other kids (volunteer in Sunday school, 4-H leader, etc ). Fast forward to now and our daughter is 22 years old. I have been a part of many kids lives and it is nice to know that the ones I still see remember and appreciate it. There are many ways to have a role as a child’s life even if God decides you can’t have your own. Praying for you and your husband.

    6. We went seven years without kids. I went through all of those emotions. We prayed, we wept, we sought God…but there was still an emptiness. Several scriptures ministered to me..Prov.3:5-6, Hannah’s prayer, Ps 37:3-7…key is delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. As we delight in the Lord, we actually see our desires change. We then pursued adoption..but after seeing how much it costs it was another walk of faith and trust. After seven years of praying and finally coming to the place that…God, I’m ok with not having children…God gave us a sweet baby boy and the adoption was free. Ten years later we’ve adopted a girl, getting ready to adopt another little boy and have fostered nine kids. My heart is so full! I’m so glad we have followed God and pursued His will. It wasn’t the picture we had planned, but it is SO much better than I could ever hope or imagined! Keep pursuing Christ. He is sovereign and in complete control. Find Joy in your circumstances and trust Him with all your heart, soul and mind. He’s building a testimony and increasing your faith. Blessings to you!! From a mom who never thought she would be a mom:)

  2. Dear Jill,

    I am sorry to hear about how you are feeling and I can hear your pain. We don’t have all the answers and sometimes, like in your situation is just feels wrong, painful and very difficult to understand. Why you? But in every situation we must TRUST and BELIEVE that God has our very best interests at heart. Especially when its hard to do. I have seen in my life that whenever I truly let go and surrender everything to God is when He MOVES. His miracles are activated by our faith. Ask Him daily to give you the strength and the grace to trust Him in all times. Be encouraged by the book of Job.

    I think if you focus on the why you wont be able to come out of the pain. Because what good reason can you possibly find for believers not to be able to conceive?? You need to TRUST God in everything and BELIEVE that He loves you and has the best plan for your life.

    Have a blessed day and I will be praying for you x

  3. It indeed is painful to wait on the Lord and you don’t see any answers. Hanging on to his word is the best but we get discouraged because we are human beings and we have needs for our daily life. I believe depending on the Lord is the best we can do as christians no matter the situation. I lost my job 3 months ago and as a single parent it is so difficulty to make ends meet especially living in Africa. At times his word doesn’t seem to make sense because it doesn’t seem to provide what he has promised. Am not bitter but have decided to leave it all to him. He has promised that as his child I will never beg for bread and that he will supply all my needs according to his riches in glory. Am praying and believing for a new job. Stay blessed.

  4. Thank you for this. When you said about how suffering comes out of no where that is so true and I have recently experienced that. I pray that I will come out of this the way God desires, that my experience will not only glorify God but also serve as a way to help others in the same situation as mine. That He will use my experience to help others.

  5. This word is so refreshing. Thank you Courtney. I’m in a reflective mood.

    Yes we Know that God is Sovereign, and that we Must trust HIM, but we want things to happen NOW, MY WAY. Sometimes I have not allowed myself to be purified by the fire, but I have allowed myself to be burned and to be bitter. Many times, despite my stiff-neckedness, God somehow keeps me on His track. When I reach the destination, I am often ashamed when He reveals His intents and purposes, and shows me what He has saved me from, and what better He was ushering me to all along. I thank Him for His mercy, and for never giving up on me.

    Sometimes I return to my folly of DIY, when all He is asking me to do is to sit still and trust Him. I often think on the words of David Meece’s song “Thank You for the times You said no/ Thank You for the doors that You closed/ All the ways You never let me go/ And the things You never gave me/ So many times I didn’t understand/ And wouldn’t let You take my hand/ But now I want to fall at Your feet/ And thank You for the things You never gave to me”. I am still a work in progress, and I am learning to trust that He knows what is best for me, although many times I can’t feel him near. Be blessed and encouraged.

  6. Courtney, This was a beautiful post and beautifully written to touch the hearts of those going through a very difficult time. Thank you.

  7. Hello Courtney!
    It’s so nice to meet and to be part of the women living well bible study group. I’ve never talked about personal issues, but today I feel like sharing some information I’ve had bottled up for years. As Job says in his Seventh Reply, “Though I know my complain is bitter, his hand is heavy upon me in my groanings.”(JOB23-2).

    It is true, what I am about to say may sound like a complain, but is it? For years, I’ve been in a relationship with a person who seems to blame everyone for what has happened in his life. He blames his childhood experiences, parents, past relationships, a failed marriage, and even the relationship we have for not succeeding in life. In the beginning of our relationship I believed I could help me understand life is not about what happened in the past, but about knowing God and accepting what He has planned or our future. But as the years have gone by all I listen on a constant basis from him is, “nobody is going to come to my rescue, no body wants to help me, I’ve always helped people and nobody extends a hand, etc…”

    I am now tired of listening to the same exact words being mentioned over and over again. It has been 15 years of unpleasantness. I’ve been told by him I’m embarrassing, he loathes me, I don’t fit in his circle because I don’t have a college degree, I am nobody, and many other things. Now, he says if his future does not turn out bright it will be my fault because his future depends on the decisions I make. Can this be true? Can my decisions destroy his future? Could it be possible if I don’t marry the man I will ruin the man’s future? Is it correct for a woman to marry a man if the woman is not “in love” with the man?

    Sincerely,
    Jacqueline

    1. I believe you have answered your own questions. No one is responsible for anyone else’s happiness. If you have endured 15 years of unhappiness with this man, why would you want to extend it to a lifetime? He sounds like a person who refuses to take responsibility for himself and his life. He deflects everything bad as being everyone else’s fault. If you don’t love him, you should not marry him. You will not be able to change him. He demeans and belittles you at every turn. You do not deserve that. I have a hard time believing God would want you to make a sacrifice of your self-worth and self-esteem in order to bolster this man’s opinion of himself and his life. It sounds like he already has a pretty high opinion of himself, along with an unfulfilled sense of entitlement. Let him deal with that frustration on his own. You deserve a better life.

    2. You have answered your own questions. You don’t love him and he is constantly belittling and demeaning you, as well as blaming you whenever his life doesn’t go as he thinks it should. He has an unfulfilled sense of entitlement and his own greatness, and is like a toddler throwing a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. I have a hard time believing God would want you to sacrifice your own self-worth so that this man’s self-esteem can be bolstered. You do not deserve to be a human punching bag – physically, emotionally, mentally, or verbally. YOU deserve more. Go find it.

    3. Thank you for being open and honest with us sister. I believe you should leave this relationship and run far away! He is emotionally abusing you and he has serious issues. Toxic people do not bring any good to anyone’s lives, only pain and suffering. Lean into Gos as you make this difficult decision.

    4. Jacqueline,

      RUN LIKE SATAN HIMSELF IS AFTER YOU, BECAUSE HE IS!!!!! Run straight to the arms of Jesus, Girlfriend. A man who truly loves you will encourage you to grow as a person, he will never ever demean you by telling you that you don’t fit in, etc., etc. That is emotional abuse. Abuse is abuse and emotional abuse is as damaging if not more so than physical abuse. IMHO, emotional abuse takes longer to overcome than the physical abuse. The mental wounds are used by Satan to tear you from God. It will NOT get better, it will only get worse, until your boyfriend realizes that only following after the heart of Jesus will he ever be the success he thinks he wants. As for his comment “nobody wants to help him” I will say “who wants to help someone who always expects something in return and the payback is more costly than the help. No matter what you do to return the favor, it is never enough” I was married to a man like this for 20+ years. The emotional harm I caused my son and myself by staying so long is still being healed and it’s been 16 years since he left me. I can tell you that God will walk with you every step of the way, He will give you mentors and friends who will walk with you through the pain. I know this because that is what God did for me. My personal life in the past 16 years has been scary but I no longer fear the future. I pray fervently that God will protect and guide you through this. You have a greater purpose in life than trying to fulfill a human’s fantasy, God’s plan is to give you hope and a future. Take it and fly! In Jesus Name!

  8. I am walking through a very serious and life threatening illness. I am suffering in ways that I never thought were possible. I have some well meaning friends that tell me that I am not believing God for my healing. I even had someone tell me that it is because I have unforgiveness in my heart. I have asked those “why, why, why” questions to God so many times. He does seems silent over this. I just cling to the Word of God and have been memorizing scripture to help me.

    Courtney, I would like to know your thought on why God chooses to heal some people but not others. I think my faith is strong and I believe He can heal. I just want the perfect will of God over my life (whatever that might look like) and I will continue to stand strong in the midst of a great battle. Thank you for sharing this today. It really spoke to my heart! I want to come out as GOLD!

    Some days its just more than I know what to do with.

    1. Charlene,

      I admit that I cannot understand the pain and emotional struggle you are dealing with. But there is an amazing christian lady named Joni Eareckson Tada. She has been through so much that just reading the links I want to share with you brought tears to my eyes at the pain and suffering she endures.

      Well, she has spoken on this topic and you might find some insight or things to think and pray on.

      If God Can Heal, Why Won’t He
      http://www.joniandfriends.org/radio/5-minute/healing-verse/

      A Deeper Healing
      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/TM13-2/a-deeper-healing-joni-eareckson-tada

      Why Does God Allow Suffering?
      http://content.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2016484,00.html

      I pray that God would give you peace, fill you with His hope, and reveal His plan for your life.

      1. TBG,

        Thank you so much for sharing the links to Joni! I know who she is & even know a little about her story! Will definitely go & read these.

        I cherish your prayer for peace & hope! I know that I serve a good, good God & want to walk in His perfect will for my life! Thank you again for sharing! God bless you!

  9. Please pray for my son. He has had several severe chronic health issues for over 5 years. It’s so difficult to watch him suffer! But, even more painful to see his faith faltering, and him becoming a bitter young man! It grieves my mother’s heart to hear him say that he just wants to die! And, to hear his animosity toward God! I know that I can’t imagine what he experiences on a daily basis; especially, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year! Please pray for God to soften his heart, give him hope, and faith to trust His plan and purposes. Pray for me in ministering to him, and wisdom in when and how to respond to his wounded heart. And, yes, we continue to cry out to the Lord for healing!
    Thank you, Courtney, for these insightful words!

    1. Praying for both you and your son. May our Lord bring peace and healing to both your hearts. May His strength and will become your refuge. Trust in His will, His timing and bring all fear and anxiety to the foot of the cross. May you both be reminded of his promises, for his love and protection never fails. Hold tightly to His truth.

  10. I am in need of some help. Our 19 year old daughter was taken tragically from us this fall. She was helping others when it happened. There is a big hole and I dont understand why God could allow something like this to happen. What can anyone say to help me understand why ?

    1. I am lifting you and your family up prayer. In all honesty, my dear Maggie, nothing that I or anyone can say will bring you the answers that you seek. I can tell you that you are loved as a sister in Christ. You are precious and loved so much by our Lord. Our Lord works in mysterious and glorious ways. Place your trust in Him. In prayerful submission give Him thanks for entrusting his child to you and the many blessings she brought to your life and the lives of others. She was bringing Him pleasure by
      having the heart of a servant. Seek in His Word. His comfort and peace endures through all our heartache and trials. His ways are righteous. We will one day standing firm in our faith and trust
      see clearly. He does not not fail in his promises!

  11. Indeed the furnace burns and is hot and unless you guard your heart you will be singed. My furnace started with a diagnosis of schizophrenia for my youngest, it has been three long years and lots of therapy sessions with a great Christian counselor, but I am still being refined because the furnace is still heating so I hold on to His words in Isaiah 41:10 and on bad weeks go around muttering Psalm 23 by heart all day long and on good days, I just sing praises .

  12. I am quite familiar with the “why, why, why”. It has been asked countless times over the past three years of my life even though I know that an answer wouldn’t bring my husband back. My husbands death was very sudden and unexpected. As was our routine, our family did our evening devotions together and had just finished watching a silly family movie together. We all said our goodnights and gave goodnight kisses and went to bed. Just as I was falling asleep I heard my husband cry out my name and I heard him make a terrible sound then I realized he wasn’t able to speak. I was terrified and helpless. I yelled for our oldest daughter to call 911. It seemed to take much too long for help to come. I thought for sure once he got to the hospital everything would be okay, the doctors would certainly be able to help him. Surely he would be okay, we were just laughing together not even an hour ago. I was wrong. My healthy, active, loving husband died from an aortic aneurysm. There wasn’t anything the doctors could do to save his life. I didn’t understand. It didn’t register that the father of our three children, the man I had loved from the time I was a young teenager, the man I was suppose to grow old with, the man that had just celebrated his 43rd birthday, the man that had such an urgency to share the love of Jesus with others was suddenly gone from our earthly lives. For the first year I pasted on a fake smile while living in shock and going through the motions of daily life. The second year I realized I had shut so many people out of our lives but I didn’t really care because no one really understood the depth of my pain and I had convinced myself that no one really cared. So I continued to build up the walls around my children and myself thinking I was creating a safe little bubble. Now, just into year three I am realizing that is exactly what the enemy wanted me to do. We become an easier target when we are alone. We need encouragement and support from one another. I am so grateful to those in my life who loved us enough to not allow us to shut them out. I am grateful for my sisters in Christ who shared this online community with me. It is beautiful to see a community of women seeking wisdom to guide us through the trials that we were forewarned we would go through. Don’t give up beautiful ladies, Our Father is faithful to supply His strength when we just feel too weak to continue in the trials that are a part of this life. Thank you Courtney for sharing your gift with a community of seeking women, of hurting women, of women longing to grow closer to Jesus.

  13. Thank you so much for this encouragement! My family and I spent 3 days in the court house this week having been subpoenaed to testify in a trial. After 3 grueling days, a mistrial was granted and we are going to have to do it again in the future. I love thinking that this “furnace” can purify us and strengthen our faith rather than burn us.

  14. Courtney, Thank you for your encouraging words. Our family is going through suffering. Last Sunday an aunt had a heart attack and then passed away on Monday night. She was in good health until Thursday before when she fell and broke her hip. She was going to rehab on Monday. But that was not God’s plan. On Monday before she passed she told my aunt she just wanted to see her Lord. God answered her prayer.
    Yesterday in the middle of her memorial service we received word that my cousin had passed away. She did not feel well yesterday morning and went to the hospital. She had a heart attack also. My aunt lost her sister and daughter within 5 days of each other. Both ladies were Christians and ready to meet the Lord and we have comfort in that. We don’t understand but we are trusting God.

  15. Thank you for this post!
    My husband turned away from the Lord and a year ago left our family after an affair. During this time he has bounced from wanting nothing to do with me a the kids, to wanting to be back with us. All while wanting to have a platonic friendship with the woman he had an affair with. (Who ending up lying about many things and causing him to end their “relationship”) All during this time I have been wanting to forgive him and work together to repair our marriage and family. But he isn’t repentant. He doesn’t seem to understand what he has done. He has stugggled with porn and infidelity in the past and each time he seemed truly sorry and came to the Lord and me for help. Each time I forgave him. And each time it felt like a little piece of me died. I love him so much. He was my first love. The one who told me about the Lord. And I don’t know if I have any pieces left.

  16. I went through a painful divorce this past year so this post rang true for me. Even during my darkest nights, I knew God was by my side. I feel more closer to Him now than I ever had. Yes, I was thrown into the fire and everything in my life burned down leaving me with the ashes of broken dreams. But new roots are being planted. I can feel the trees of strength, wisdom and compassion beginning to grow within me every day. I know deeply in my heart, God will help become a more faithful and loving person as a result of my experience. This is the hope that gets me through.

  17. Thank you for this post Courtney! I need to remember to do these things. I have an appointment at the end of the week for what I fear is skin cancer. It may be nothing, but I am so filled with dread. I need to stop focusing on this possibility and focus on God.

  18. Jen, there is a book called Boundaries in Marriage that might be meaningful for you. Put your relationship and your children’s relations with Christ first. You can’t build a marriage with someone who is unrepentant – you can, with God’s help, forgive him, but that doesn’t mean you can build a marriage relationship with him if he hasn’t accepted responsibility for the sin in his life.
    God is with you through this – no matter the outcome. He will be your husband and a father to your children. Psalm 68:5 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

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