Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

When God is Silent

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"The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heaven; by His knowledge the depths were broken up, the clouds drop down the dew" (Proverbs 3:19-20).

Your wisdom O Lord is more than we can comprehend or imagine. Everything You do has precise time and a special moment. How can we expect with our limited mind or dare to comprehend all Your plan for each one of us?

When God is silent, His aim is to tell each individual something. As the children of God, we have to trust that God's times are perfect and everything He will do has a purpose:

  • Giving a blessing
  • Teaching us to submit to His will
  • Helping us grow in virtue
  • Increasing our prayer time with Him
  • Having a more intimate relationship with Him
  • Telling us that we are not receptive to Him

Giving a blessing

"The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He has set the world upon them" (1 Samuel 2:6-8).

I love the story of Hannah for it reminds me that God has His perfect time for everything He does. Hannah has been suffering for years due to her feeling of rejection by God for she had no children of her own. For years she has been waiting on God to open her womb and lift her head up among her people. But Hannah received nothing. Although her husband Elkanah loves her and tries to comfort her, she was suffering and had a grieving heart. Every year Hannah accompanied her husband patiently to offer sacrifices asking and praying for a child but every year she came back with a heavy heart. God was silent and did not give her any answer. Then it happened that Hannah could not hold how miserable she is any longer so she went to the shrine and started to pour out all her pain and misery in front of God and she promised Him if He granted her a child she will give him to Him. Because of her intense prayer, Eli, the priest thought that she is drunk. So she explained to him her sadness. Then the perfect time of God had come and He remembered Hannah and Eli, the priest, answered and said to her, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him" (1 Samuel 1:17).

When God gives a blessing, He always gives it with abundance because with the blessing we must endure to gain a virtue such as waiting patiently on the Lord. Trust and have faith that He is listening and acting in His perfect time and plan.

Teach us to submit to His will

"And the Lord said, 'I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.'" (Exodus 3:7-8).

The children of Israel lived in Egypt for 400 years remembering God's promises to their father Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. After Joseph died the Egyptians started to forget Him and His great work. All that they saw was that the Israelites are growing and multiplying in Egypt and they have to do something about it before it gets out of hand. So they started to kill the newborn males and oppressing the people of Israel. When Moses and Aaron came and told the people of God about God's plan to bring them out into the land of Cannon which He swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they rejoiced. For God had remembered them.

Help us grow in virtue

"And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons; 'My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord. Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives.'" Hebrews 12:5-6).

The Holy Book of Job is one of the amazing books that helps us understand God's reason for silence; in order to allow us to examine ourselves and come back to the point of repentance before sin ruins our lives.

Job thought of himself pure and righteous and God wanted him to understand there is no man pure and righteous in the sight of the Lord. And because of His love for Job and wanting to teach him to humble himself in front of God, He allowed Satan to test him so he can open his eye about his mistakes and lead him to repentance.

Although Job had suffered so many things, he came back and said, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6).

Increase our prayer time with Him

"In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river; that is, the Tigris" (Daniel 10:2-4).

Waiting on God patiently is very hard. It requires faith and trust that God has a timing for everything and that He appears in silence for a very important reasons.

"Then he said to me, 'Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; I have come because of your words.'" (Daniel 10:12).

Although Daniel waited three weeks until he got his answer, God had already accepted his request. God reveals His answer to our request in His perfect time in order to allow us to gain more blessings and increase our endurance.

Have more intimate relationship with Him

"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: 'God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.' Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:6-7).

Love is the first ingredient for building an intimate relationship with God; without it we cannot form any relationship with God or others. Our love for God will help us to overcome temptations, to endure tribulations, and to teach us patience.

When God sees our willingness to walk with Him, He will give us strength and determination to be faithful to Him, and will lead us on the right path to spiritual growth. And the more we grow in our spiritual walk, the more we grow in our intimate relationship with God.

Telling us that we are not receptive to Him

God also pulls His hand back when He sees that His children not receptive to Him and they are too busy with their own lives and He is not included. Yet they use their limited thinking to rule on what is right and profitable for them and they ignore God's commandment: "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your sou,.with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.'" (Luke 10:27).

The story of Samson is one of the hardest to God's heart for He had to choose Samson before he was even born to be a great man among his people and God blessed him with many things. Samson was very strong, he killed a thousand men with a jawbone of a donkey and he was a judge. He judged Israel 20 years in the days of the Philistines. But he could not overcome his weakness which made him lose his focus on God and pulled him away from His hand and eventually destroyed his life. His love of a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.

"Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, 'O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O Lord, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!'" (Judges 16:28).

Samson lost his physical strength, his eye sight, and his people's respect. God granted Samson his last wish when he turned back to God and humbled himself.


We need to respect God's silence and know that there is an absolute perfect purpose behind it such as a warning or blessing. Therefore we must examine ourselves to find out and pray that God will reveal His plan to us in due time.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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