« Day 36  |  Day 38 »

Day 37

When God Seems Silent

by Paul Spurlock

Read Psalm 42

Why are you in despair, O my soul? …Hope in God… [Psalm 42:11 NASB]

Seeing people talk loudly to themselves in public is quite common today — usually they’re on a cell phone with a wireless earpiece. But before the Bluetooth era, speaking out loud to yourself in public made most observers wonder about your sanity!

Well, I once was just such a talker. I was going through an intense depression that lasted a couple of years. Feeling ignored by God — no, abandoned —
I used to walk alone for hours in a large park, talking audibly to God through angry tears. I’d even curse at Him, all the while shaking my fist toward the heavens and crying: “I’d rather have Your discipline than Your silence, for at least in the discipline I’d have Your presence!” But still, I experienced only silence (and odd looks from passersby!). It seemed God was nowhere to be found.

It’s hard for people who’ve never experienced the blackness of depression to relate, but apparently the writer of Psalm 42 felt the same way. He cries out: Tears have been my food day and night while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ A few verses later he sums up his sad state — his soul is “downcast” and “disturbed.”

How did the psalmist recover? Interestingly, he describes himself as a thirsty deer [v. 1] — instead of a more self-sufficient animal like a camel. I think this is a clue — choose to rely on God instead your own resources. Next, in verse 4, he draws strength by recalling the joy of being in the house of God. So when down, seek the people of God! Then, despite “downcast” circumstances, he doesn’t forget to “praise” God [v. 5]. Finally, he sums it up all in one phrase: “put your hope in God”! Is he merely a naïve Pollyanna? No. The psalmist’s focus — and foundation for real hope — is clearly beyond the here and now. Proclaiming that his hope is set upon the rock [v. 9], and Savior…God [v. 11] is a focus on eternal concerns. In this he found true hope!

I eventually came out of my three-year desert of having no sense of God’s presence. It came to me as it did the psalmist, through putting my hope in God, no matter what the circumstances. Like a broken bone now healed, my relationship to God is stronger — and more hopeful — as a result!

Question to Consider

When have I felt like God was silent? How can hope impact those times of silence?


Lord, I want real hope! Help me get beyond the here and now—and put my hope in the only One who can save me now and for all eternity!