Why Won’t God Speak to You
Why Can't I Hear God Speaking
The answer to why you cannot hear God speaking is you've stopped listening. Think about it like a constantly broadcasting radio signal. Whatever radio stations are in your area, their signal never truly stops transmitting. When you choose to listen, you turn your radio and when you no longer desire to, you turn the radio off. There are several reasons people feel as if God stopped speaking to them. First, some believe He is not speaking because God is angry. While I would hesitate to completely dismiss this, I wouldn’t stake my soul on this being truth. Even when God is angry, He speaks!
Although it sounds cliché, God is only a spiritual phone call away. Next, others believe God has stop speaking because He is not interested. As asinine as this sounds, there are more people than you would believe that hold to this doctrine. Remember scripture says: “cast all of your cares on God because He cares for you”. Third, people believe God is not listening because they are not “holy” enough. If that is true, how would anyone “get a prayer through” and receive salvation/repentance from Jesus Christ?
In the Bible, there are instances when God seemed to be silent. One (1) such example is in the Book of Psalms 22. In one of the better-known verses, King David cries out: “why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning”. This sense of God’s silence can also be misunderstood with respect to the Book of Job as well. I need not remind any about the sufferings of Job! However, around chapter 32, Joe pours out his complaint to God. As my Bible students know, around chapter 38, God stopped Job from speaking. Apparently, and at minimum, God was a least listening to Job before telling him to “shut up”. I mean, on what basis does anyone tell another to shut up if not listening to them speak?
Here are people who suffered silence in the biblical narrative:
1. King Saul of Israel: God stopped speaking to Saul after he disobeyed God’s commands with respect to complete destruction of the Amalekites.
2. The people of Israel: God stop speaking to them when they stopped following Him to go after other gods. Who could forget the multiple hundred years silence between the last book of the Old Testament, and the arrival of Jesus Christ?
3. King Nebuchadnezzar: in Daniel chapter 4, God removes the mental health of King Nebuchadnezzar. For some years, Nebuchadnezzar was considered a mentally unstable man who God had tuned out.
In summary, there is “perceived” silence from God and then, at least in the Old Testament, times when God was truly silent. However, and be encouraged on this wise: God is just a groan, cry, or plea away. I am unaware of anything one can do, while they yet live, which would earn a lifetime of silence from God.
How Does God Speak to Us
God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit once we are born again. This does not, however, mitigate certain times before prior when the Spirit is warning us for our own good. These people may call this warning their conscience, a small voice in the head, or other. But make no mistake, this is the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in faith, develop a close relationship with the Lord, and to discern good from evil. We have all seen commercials where a little devil was sitting on someone’s left shoulder and an angel on their right. The devil whispers “bad” things and the angel those things which are good. This is not far from an accurate description of how God, and the enemy, speaks to us.
The Holy Spirit speaks to the followers of Jesus Christ because it is essential for our spiritual, emotional, and biblical growth. Through the Spirit, we receive guidance, direction, and most of all, encouragement to keep trusting Jesus. Additionally, the Spirit develops our gifts and shows us how to use them to glorify God. In the most literal sense, the Holy Ghost keeps us heading in the right direction.
Many have some form of directional software on their phones, computers, and vehicles. This Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system guides those who so inquire in the right direction. The Holy Ghost is the same acting our global positioning satellite system. When we ignore the Spirit’s direction, we get lost! Unlike GPS however, His directions are never incorrect. When we do not listen, we grieve the Holy Spirit and His voice becomes much harder to hear.
What Should I Do When God is Silent
What you should do when God is silent, is keep speaking until His voice becomes clear! Earlier in this post, I waxed biblical with respect to it is not God who has the hearing issue - it is us. It is important to approach God with humility, patience, and perseverance. One of the most relentless people in the Bible, who it seems God could not get away from, was the patriarch Jacob. If there are two (2) more relentless people in the Bible, other than Jacob and the Apostle Paul, drop a note in the comments section and tell me who.
Nevertheless, when God gives us over to reprobate mind, it means He has released us to do those things that will draw us further away from Him. Sin, and lack of repentance thereof, tunes God’s voice out completely. If you have done so and God, or at least you believe God remains silent, take your prayer and fasting to a new level. Jesus told His disciples that certain things could only be accomplished through prayer and fasting. This “supposed” silence is also an issue of God’s timing versus ours. If there was anyone in the biblical narrative that had a valid case for questioning God’s timing, it was Abraham. Of course, Abraham asked for God’s assurance, but he still trusted God’s timing.
Here are biblical figures who struggled with feeling God was silent:
1. Habakkuk: this prophet struggled with God’s silence in the face of evil and injustice. As someone called to announce God’s judgment on this wicked world, I often have the same struggles. However, I always remember this one thing: when God’s justice falls, it will fall on me as well. This does not stop me from calling for God’s justice especially on this wicked nation. It does, however, make me more careful when I do so.
2. Job: this great man of faith experienced a great deal of suffering, loss, and physical sickness. Despite his friends’ accusations, Job chose to remain faithful. For those who doubt, please read Job chapter 34 through 37, and then God’s response through the rest of the narrative.
3. King David: there is no doubt David experienced years of silence when he was on the run from King Saul.
4. The Israelites in Babylonian Exile: the Israelites were taken into Babylonian captivity because of sin against God. During these years, it seemed that God was distant and silent. Yet many chose to remain faithful, and God still showed up to confirm He was still with them. One (1) great example was the deliverance of Daniel from the lion’s den, as well as the three (3) Hebrew boys from the fiery furnace.
5. Jesus Christ: okay, this may seem like a stretch for most so let me explain. I am not suggesting that Jesus either had or needed faith. He is God in the flesh according to the Gospel of John chapter 1. Why would God need faith in God? However, Jesus prayed three (3) times, in the Garden of Gethsemane, that God would remove the coming suffering from Him. There’s no record that God specifically responded in the negative. We only know God did not relieve Jesus’ suffering because He ended up on the cross.
6. Mary and Martha: Jesus could’ve arrived and prevented Lazarus death but chose to wait until several days later. When Jesus did arrive, Mary and Martha remained faithful although Jesus arrived later than they had requested.
In summary, the thing we should do when God is silent, or at least we perceive Him to be, is remain faithful, humble, and expecting a mighty move of God. Again, adjust your “spiritual volume button” before believing God is silent. You will find it is you who is not listening.
Can God Speak Through Your Thoughts
Yes, God can speak through your thoughts and further, this is most often how He communicates. The super-theologians will argue: “we only hear God through the Spirit.” OK buddy but remember this – the only way we experience God is through our sensory perception. You will never be transformed without the “renewing of your mind”. Put those two (2) thing together and see the larger thought from the Mind of God. I am not doing all the work here! Yes, I am a Pastor but I have learned the value of NOT doing all the "heavy lifting".
The challenge becomes knowing whether a thought is “of your own belly” or the Holy Spirit. There are key differences that help you determine when it is God, or you are speaking. First, the Holy Spirit will always align with God’s character and will never contradict His Word. A great example is the millions of women Pastors who believe God told them to Pastor their husbands and a congregation.
I will not give the full Christian apologetics case against this in its entirety. But I will say there is not one bit of biblical scripture which commands a woman to either lead her home or her husband. These are both requirements for a Pastor. In fairness, God did call our Sister Preachers as Prophets, Evangelists, and Teachers. Further, there are biblical instances where a female Prophet has been given temporary authority to speak God’s word and lead His people. But this was always, without exception, operating in the office of a Prophet.
Second, God is speaking when we receive peace and not confusion. This does not suggest that God instructs us to do things which don’t make us wonder. Confusion, however, is something altogether different. The Bible tells us: “God does not give us the spirit of fear but of sound mind unto all the Saints.”
Finally, we know God is speaking, and not our own selfish desires, when must sacrifice something, or even ourselves, in service to someone else. Remember the words of Jesus: “greater love has no one than they would lay down their life for their friend”.
Header Image Courtesy of Ri Butov @ Pixabay