Why Does It Feel Like God Says Nothing When We Need Him Most?

Why Does It Feel Like God Says Nothing When We Need Him Most?
Photo by Jun / Unsplash

God’s silence is one of the most deafening sounds.

It radiates and permeates every fiber of our existence.

  • The poor father, who makes $3000 a month, trying to save his little girl from cancer.
  • The girl raped in Delhi for no fault of her own.
  • The beggar lying down in the cold winter, shivering and waiting for the sun to rise.

Tagged along with God’s silence is the voice of those who are insensitive to the suffering.

One of the coldest things you can tell someone lower, poorer, or sicker than you is that God helps those who help themselves.

Rubbish talk.

Most people are fighting to help themselves, but they come against obstacles I (and likely you) can’t even fathom. That’s my leading struggle in writing this.

I am privileged. I know that, and I don’t know what to do about it besides help in the form of words today.

Specifically the aspect of God’s silence.

As C.S. Lewis so bluntly asked in the midst of his own grief, “Why is he so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?”

As Christ's followers, we must grapple with the reality that God is sovereign over every scene of existence. That truth is often more painful than comforting, as we are exposed to an increasingly grotesque and scary world.

One small intervention on God’s part could have changed everything: for the poor dad, the girl in Delhi, the beggar in the snow, and you.

The God you trusted didn’t show up.

What do you do when you’re tempted to distrust what feels like an absent God?

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”

We only have two options: we can choose to run toward God or away from him.

Running toward God is often frightening. He is massive, powerful, and far too glorious for our understanding. If you ran towards anything with those tags, it would be scary.

But it’s even more scary to run away from him.

God, in his quiet whispers, reminds me of the persistent friend in Luke 11. Like him, we need to pound on the gates of heaven, not with anger but with unyielding trust.

Sometimes, all you can do is trust.

"Trust in what?" You demand.

  • Trust that God’s ways are higher than yours.
  • Trust that God’s thoughts are higher than your thoughts.
  • Trust that God is still in control, even in the most uncertain times.

After all, the worst event to ever occur—the murder of his Son—became the most wonderful thing for us, securing our salvation and revealing the supreme glory of God.

The promise is simple from there. He will meet us there if we run toward God in joy and sorrow. He will draw near to you.

Then, You Wait.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. (Psalm 40:1–2)

Notice in that Psalm there is no indication of how long we must wait.

The Psalmist just waits.

It also doesn’t indicate that the Psalmists, while they waited, screamed at the unfairness of God and demanded something better.

Waiting requires full surrender.

Have you ever watched a lifeguard attempt to save a drowning person who is screaming and flailing the entire time?

It usually leads to more pain. More doubt. More fear.

Trust in God is found in obeying Him when he says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Trust + Surrender + Action

Healing doesn’t happen right away.

When we are hit with tragedy, we must first trust and surrender, but it never ends there. God’s made us active agents in our lives.

This is different from what we chastised earlier (God helps those who help themselves). Instead, it’s an encouragement to keep fighting.

  • Keep praying.
  • Keep talking to God.
  • Keep doing hard things.
  • Keep seeking his will in your life.
  • Keep good company.

God’s silence isn’t a license for us to turn our backs on Him. Instead, it’s an invitation to press forward and seek Him even more diligently.

When someone whispers, we lean in and anticipate hearing something special and reserved for us.

When someone is silent, we don’t immediately assume they don’t care.

  • In love, silence can be a sign of intimacy.
  • In fear, silence is a sign of reverence.
  • In angst, silence is a sign of excitement.
  • In grief, silence is a sign of support.

All these things, in part, are true about God.


In the end, we are promised a happy ending, union with Christ, and full abandonment of all the pain and fear we experience in this lifetime.

My wife reminds me often, “Don’t assume death is the worst thing that can happen to us.” Christ is coming.

We must only keep running to him, trusting in his provision, waiting in surrender, and keeping up the fight for what is right and good.