What if God Is Silent in the Midst of Pain and Suffering?

Daisy Cayos

May 06, 2020

We are only in the second quarter of the year, yet we’ve already seen and experienced so much. While there may be lessons learned along the way, we must admit that it’s both tiring and frightening to wonder what else could life throw at us.

In this time of a nationwide pandemic, we’ve become hungry for good news and we long for breakthroughs, if only to overshadow the saddening events. Still, bad things seem to happen every day. And the news becomes more painful and heartbreaking when statistics on TV become the names of people we know—friends we used to hang out with, a former professor, a neighbor, or a family member.

As we face these saddening stories, we cry out to God and demand answers. Sometimes God comes through and provides answers. But in some cases, God responds with a deafening silence. In this COVID-19 situation, the list of unanswered questions piles up as the situation intensifies.

 

How do we cope when God is silent in the midst of pain? 

Perhaps a good way to approach this question is to know God and His characteristics.

The period between the Old Testament and the New Testament is often referred to as the “silent years” for the nation of Israel. For around 400 years, there had been no prophetic message, angelic visitation, or miraculous encounter with God.

But did God’s silence mean that He no longer cared? Does God give the silent treatment or offer a cold shoulder when He gets hurt? Does His silence mean His total absence from our lives?

No.

When God was seemingly silent in the face of evil, He was working behind the scenes to ultimately defeat evil. He orchestrates every human event to make all things work together for good.

God may be “silent” right now as the world cries out for miracles, but we know that He isn’t distant and uninvolved. His love is steadfast, and He remains faithful even in our faithlessness.

He proved this when He sent Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to the earth. Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated God’s love for us through His life, death, and resurrection.  And when Jesus ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon His people to be with us forever.

Is that the kind of God who would turn a deaf ear to our cries?

God hears when His people cry out.

God assures us that He hears the cries of His people and delivers them from their misery. He also saves our crushed spirits and binds up our wounds.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. 

Psalm 34:17–19

God’s silence does not mean God’s absence. 

God wants to be with us forever; that’s why He gave us another Helper, the Holy Spirit, to see us through.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may 

be with you forever . . .”

John 14:16 (NASB)

Sometimes, our questions spring from the what ifs and if onlys in our hearts.

What if I had done things differently? Would this have happened?

What if I had said sorry before it was too late?

If only I had the courage to tell my father how much I loved him.

If only I knew what to do, I could have avoided the hurt and the pain.

Instead of focusing on our regrets, frustrations, and the desire to be in control, we can choose to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).

In times of suffering and pain, we need God’s presence more than God’s answers to our questions. 

In His presence, all our questions vanish in light of His steadfast love.

In His presence, there’s fullness of joy to chase away our mourning.

In His presence, there’s peace that transcends all understanding.

It’s like when you’re in the presence of your most trusted friend: You can sit with each other all day without saying anything, yet you know that friend’s presence is enough to help you face your situation.

When God is silent, take it as His invitation for us to “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10).

Let His presence bring comfort and peace to our troubled hearts.

God’s timing is perfect.

Even in silence, God remains sovereign. God knows all the questions in our hearts, even the ones that remain unspoken. So if it’s answers we are looking for, they will come at the right time, when we are ready to receive them.

Could it be that His silence is the only thing we need to find our way back? Could it be that He answers in a still small voice, and not in the way we expect Him to answer? Could it be that His voice is being drowned out by the voices of fear and worry in our hearts?

Psalm 27:14 (NIV) urges us to “wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

As we wait for the Lord and His perfect timing, let’s continue to be in faith that God remains the same, whatever season we may find ourselves in. He is not one who would stay away.

We may grieve, cry out, and pour out our pain before God. But know this: All suffering will someday end, and God will make right all the things that are wrong in this world.

 

 

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The Author

Daisy Cayos

Daisy is one of the campus missionaries in ENC Santa Cruz. Before entering full-time ministry, she went through many adventures in her career, from teaching to working for the government. She even attempted to start a couple of businesses along the way. However, in the midst of her life transitions, she stopped pursuing her personal ambitions and surrendered her life to the pursuit of God's purpose. She took the first step by serving in campus ministry. Daisy believes she is where God wants her to be. Nothing is wasted, and life has never been this exciting.

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