Home > Bible Study, Devotional, Waiting on the Lord > Waiting When God Is Silent

Waiting When God Is Silent

waiting1I’ve been pondering the following passage, as I’ve been reading through the book of Job once again. Job is the one doing the speaking here…

Job 23:8-10 “Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”

At the same time, Job complained and trusted. He complained about the fact that God was incomprehensible to him; in spite of all of Job’s pleadings, at this point in the story, the Lord had not shown up. Job still had no answers.

It is remarkable, therefore, that Job still trusted Him.

Job had so little to go on—God did not explain the reasons for his immense suffering. All Job knew was that one day everything was fine, and then everything in his life began tearing apart. He lost his children, livestock, servants, and finally his health. And God said nothing to him about why. It was indeed a test, a very big one. Job wanted to meet with God, he wanted answers. He wanted an audience with the Holy One. He desired a mediator that would go between himself and God.

Yet God remained silent about these matters. In fact, there is no biblical evidence that He ever told Job what had happened.

God did eventually show up. In fact, He showed up in great power and wisdom. He asked Job over 60 direct questions—all of which contrasted God’s immensity with Job’s frail humanness—none of which Job could answer. He was utterly overwhelmed by God.

At the end of all the questioning, Job made his classic statement to the Lord: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5).

That was enough for Job. In reality, he didn’t need to know the why. He didn’t need to know the why because he then had greater revelation of the Who. Caught up with God Himself, there was need of nothing else.

What I’ve been thinking about—and seeking to learn from—is the concept of waiting upon God when He is silent.

Like Paul the apostle, I know I’ll eventually hear His voice and know what to do or where to go (2 Corinthians 4:8b)… but it’s the times when I’m hearing nothing that can be the most difficult for me.

I know the counsel I give to others, because it’s the same counsel I have often given to myself. Do Proverbs 3:5-6. Focus on one day at a time (Matthew 6:34). Remain faithful to what you know to do right now. Continue to renew your mind by the word of God (Romans 12:2).

But I also know that even when I’m doing these things, I get restless. I want action, movement. I want to create my own inertia, to get going. I am tempted to take matters into my own hands; but if I do, I also know that I’m very likely to botch something up. Been there, done that.

So I want to learn to do a better job at waiting. That doesn’t mean I’m inactive, because there are still responsibilities to tend to. (I thank God for responsibility He gives me.) It does mean that I need to learn more about waiting for God’s solutions and answers to matters in my life. I must not get ahead of the Lord, as it is often stated.

Even when God is speaking loudly, I must wait.

Here’s an old chorus I’ve sung lately. Some of you know it…

We must wait, wait, wait on the Lord

We must wait, wait, wait on the Lord

And learn our lessons well

In His timing He will tell us

What to do, where to go, what to say

Amen. Thanks for reading.

  1. Julie D.
    January 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    I’m not sure why but this made me remember the day I realized that God has a resting place. I was looking up the meaning of “Mercy Seat” in the dictionary and it said it is “regarded as the resting place of God”. At that moment I saw that mercy is a place where God rests. Just like I can be with him as he works I can be with him as he rests. Restless by nature I’m learning to love mercy. I always love to read your musings, thanks for sharing.

  2. January 23, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you for that insight, Julie… that’s a wonderful comment and insight. He rested on the 7th day, and He rests in His love and mercy as well.

    Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in his love, He will joy over thee with singing.” (KJV)

    God bless you.


  3. Saundra Roth
    January 23, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Thank You Bill for your words.
    The Lord had been silent for months last year, for I was angry and blamed Him. I forgot who He was and did not trust Him.
    I wanted to know the “Why”, in November I remembered Who HE IS.
    Once again I am reminded and encouraged by your blog.
    Blessings to you my friend.

  4. January 24, 2009 at 8:23 am

    That’s awesome, Sandy… your experience is an apt illustration of this truth! It’s “Who,” not “why?”.


  5. Peggy Sterling
    January 27, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Oh, that we might all be so, as you so wisely shared, Pastor Bill, “Caught up with God Himself, there was need of nothing else.” Amen to that from the very rhema of my soul…

    The Holy Spirit ministered to me with that statement. And then I was reading Psalm 27, and verse 14, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

    I am walking out and seemingly living between the lines in the script of that verse. This is a challenging time of waiting in the lives of so many Christians, myself included. And your musing, Pastor Bill, is encouraging and therefore strengthening me while I wait on the Lord.

    I also know that when I am so “caught up with God Himself” that the enemy does not assail me and take me back to the land of “why”, “what” and “when” with anxious thoughts because the WHO of Christ Himself surrounds me with shalom peace and it must be enough. And it is enough. And then, God, “who worketh in us both to will and to do that which is His perfect pleasure” (Phil 2:14) does just that…He comes forth and shows me the way, the means and blesses me with the “why” even when He does not reveal it to me! He is God. And I am awash with love in knowing it anew and all over again…no more bleatings, but the comfort of the Good Shepherd, leading, leading, leading…thank You, Precious Father, for the paths of righteousness on which You lead us in Christ Jesus our Lord! And thank You, for brothers and sisters who share their counsel in this blog; bless them!

  6. January 29, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Peggy, thank you, as always, for your insightful and edifying comments. Any teacher loves to get feedback, and you’re one of the best at it.

  7. khollandsblog
    March 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Oh to rest in His mercy! Oh how I need to trust in the Lord and His perfect timing!

    Psalm 31:14-16 But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing.

    Psalm 31:23-24 Love the LORD, all His saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud He pays back in full. Be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.


    May the Lord’s face shine on you today
    For our times are in His hand.

    May He save and preserve you in His unfailing love.

    Be of good courage and trust in the Lord
    He will strengthen your heart!

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