“There is a time to keep silence and a time to speak” according to (Ecc.3:7).
It is with people at times, so it is with the Lord at times “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” (Ja.1:19).
There may be speech on one side, but no answer on the other side.
This silence may be prolonged till it becomes distressingly painful. We may have the feeling of lose, we may have the feeling of desertion, we may have the dread of worse things to come, we may have the feeling of going down to the pit of darkness and despair. David said “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Ps.23:4).
One great minister said in his strong way, O my God, punish me rather with pestilence, with all the terrible sicknesses on earth, with war, with anything, rather than thou be silent to me “Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.”(Psa.28:1).
Through God’s silence is to be refused, yet it is ordained of God for good “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” (Ps.34:6).
Silences may come to us as just retribution. The wicked do not seek after the Lord. Therefore the Lord deal with with them after their own ways “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:” (Prov.1:24,28).
Good people may become negligent, they may fall into sin and forget the Lord’s law.
Therefore it may be necessary to let them see and learn the evil of departing from the Living God “As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.” (Ps.125:5).
Silences may come to us as a merciful warning. We must not judge of God by ourselves. We must not think that he is arbitrary or cold.
If he is silent, it is for just cause. Remember how it was with Saul, “And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.” (I.Sam.28:6).
Well would it have been for him, if he had regarded the doing of God, and turned to him in repentance. But he hardened his heart. Our sin saith the prophet, “have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa.49:2).
Let us note what (Hos.5:15) stated “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.”
Silences may come to us as gracious discipline
Silences may come to try our faith. Remember the Syro Pheonician woman in (Mt.15:28) “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” (Mt.15:21).
Silences may come to quicken our sense of dependence. Often we find ourselves in deep water as Peter did in (Mt.14:30) “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”
God is sovereign. He is under no obligation to us. If he hears, it is in mercy “That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” (Dan.4:25).
We are to ready to think we have a claim upon him, and to resent his silent. We need to learn humility “God resisteth the prond, he giveth grace to the humble”Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” (I.Pt.5:8).
Silences may come to enhance the value of the blessing we lack.
The worth is known by the want. Memory of past joys makes us the more eager in seeking renewed tokens of love and good will.
The light is sweet to the eye, but it is sweeter if for a while withdraw.
Friendship is dear, but absence makes the heart grow fonder.
The love of God is the joy of the heart, but if clouds and darkness gather between us and God, the more earnestly do we cry for the restoration of his favor “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jer.29:12,13).
Silences may come to prepare us for higher manifestations of God’s love.
Often times we need to be brought low in order to be raised up “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” (Lk.8:35).
We need to be emptied of pride and self-righteousness to be filled with the fullness of God “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Eph.5:18)
If we ask and receive not, it is because we ask amiss. This we have to learn “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (Ja.4:3).(4)
We are led, therefore, to self-examination, to penitence, to confession “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? “ (II.Cor.13:5).
God has something better than we thought in store for us.
Let us therefore trust, and not be afraid “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” (Isa.44:7,8).