When God goes silent
There are times in our lives when God goes silent.
These can be very difficult times for us to get through.
When we look for an answer from God to a problem or a troubling situation, in our life, we seemingly get silence.
I’ve been through several of these times in my life. It can be very rough.
It’s like being on a plane that has turbulence. The pilot says, “Fasten your seatbelts.” Then, the turbulence begins, and you wonder how long is this going to last? Is this going to get worse? Are we going to land safely?
Even Mother Teresa struggled with God going silent in her life. In the book, “The Love that Made Mother Teresa”, we see a note she wrote to her spiritual director in 1957 wherein she expresses the pain of God going silent in her life:
“In the darkness… Lord, my God, who am I that you should forsake me? The child of your love – and now become as the most hated one. The one – you have thrown away as unwanted – unloved, I call, I cling, I want, and there is no one to answer… Where I try and raise my thoughts to heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul. Love – the word – it brings nothing. I am told God lives in me – and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”
It's amazing to read that even the saintly Mother Teresa felt this pain of God going silent.
So, why does God allow us to go through these ‘silent’ periods in our lives?
I believe the answer is because it is in these silent times, our faith matures and gets stronger.
Let me give you an analogy.
When our boys were very young, we would read them a story, tuck each one of them into bed, give them a kiss goodnight and turn out the lights.
Now, because there were three of them in one room, I would sit in the doorway for a while to make sure they didn’t start talking to each other and stay awake.
One day, after a few minutes of silence, in the darkness, I heard one of my sons say, “Dad, are you still here?” I told him I was.
Within a few minutes, he was sound asleep.
Even thinking back on this now, it’s emotional for me to think what it would have felt like for him if I would have been gone and there would have been silence.
He needed that reassurance at that age.
He was developing what psychologists call Object Constancy. It’s the ability to believe that a relationship is stable, hopeful, and intact, despite the other person not being immediately present in their lives.
Over time, the boys didn’t need any reassurance that myself or my wife were “there”. They had grown and matured. They knew we were watching over them without us being present in their room.
Ironically, years later, it would be us calling them, as we were trying to go to sleep, asking them, “When will you be home? We can’t go to sleep until we know you are home.”
Such is the circles of life.
Nowadays, we live on separate coasts from each other, but that bond of love and trust, that was built over decades, connects us, no matter how far apart we are.
It’s the same with our relationship with God. As we grow and mature in our relationship with Him and in our faith, we don’t need to ask Him, “Are you there still?”
And those “silent” moments are simply nothing more than God letting you know that He is stretching and growing your faith. It’s like when you were growing as a child and you had some aches and pains and your mother would say, “You must be going through a growth phase.”
As we mature from childhood to adulthood, our faith will continuously go through “growth phases” and our faith will grow stronger and stronger. As St. Paul explained it, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
Keep the faith,
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