Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Spiritual Growth When God is Silent


I don’t usually do well with long periods of silence . . . especially when God is the one who is silent.

Many illustrations about spiritual growth come from the agricultural world. A seed is planted, and then it sprouts, buds, flowers, and produces fruit. A nice word picture illustrating our own spiritual experience.

But we often forget that it all begins in silent darkness. The seed is covered in soil, blocked from the light, and left alone for a time.

A recent quote from my friend, marketing coach and strategist Patricia Durgin, reminded me of the importance of silence. And it caused me to stop and dwell on the truth of her statement:

Patricia Durgin, God's Silence

“Our faith blooms when we hear the Holy Spirit’s whispers of encouragement. But its roots grow deepest when He is silent.”

It’s true. My faith does grow deeper when God is silent. But I don’t like being in those situations. They make me uncomfortable. For it’s in moments like these that I’m vulnerable to the whispers of our spiritual enemy. Whispers that tempt me to conclude God either doesn’t hear my cries or doesn’t care about my pain. I know neither of those statements are true. So I cling in faith to what I do know about God.

God is faithful . . . always. And because He is faithful, I can sink the roots of my faith in Him deep into His character.

Author and evangelist Oswald Chambers said something similar as noted in the October 11 entry of his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest:

“Has God trusted you with a silence—a silence that is big with meaning? God’s silences are His answers . . . Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? You will find that God has trusted you in the most intimate way possible, with an absolute silence, not of despair, but of pleasure, because He saw that you could stand a bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, praise Him, He is bringing you into the great run of His purposes. The manifestation of the answer in time is a matter of God’s sovereignty.”

Take heart if you are living during a “silent” time—a period when God doesn’t seem to be answering or moving on your behalf. Wait on His perfect timing, even if circumstances compel you to think His timing is flawed. And as you wait, the seed of your faith, long buried in dark soil, will eventually emerge. From the darkness will come a sprout, a bud, a flower, and fruit that could not have grown any other way.

How do you cultivate your faith in times when God is silent?

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