“What do I do when God seems silent?” The question came from a good friend and a sincere follower of Christ. We were on a weekend retreat at the Cove (Billy Graham Training Center) in Asheville, NC. I had just shared a message with three hundred women about learning to hear God’s voice based on Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars: Learning to Hear the Voice of God.
Her question hit a chord. How do we handle those times when we have prayed and prayed. Perhaps we have even sensed God’s promise to fulfill a hope or dream. But the answer is sooo slow in coming. I thought back to my own time of what I call “Wait Training.” In our early years of marriage, David and I had looked forward to the day we’d have children. Imagine our dismay when hopes for a baby stretched into six months, a year, two years, and eventually four years–forty eight straight months of drugs, surgeries, tests, tests and more tests. And still no baby.
We eventually had our daughter and two sons. But the years of waiting proved to be a good time to seek God. Strength came as I rested in God, studied His Word, held fast to His promises…day after day. I learned what Jesus meant when He encouraged believers to “abide” in Him (John 15:5).
I also found surprising comfort as I stepped out of my own pain to serve others. I discovered that if I would use my spiritual gifts and talents to help someone who was hurting worse that I was, a mysterious joy would spring forth. (Click here for free Spiritual Gifts inventory).
By seeking God and serving Him wholeheartedly, I learned that times of waiting can give birth to a larger purpose. Not getting what we want when we want it may be one of the best tools to sharpen our hearing of God’s voice. We may find that our seasons of waiting–those times we thought were barren– can become our most fruitful.