When God Is Silent

I have two nights left to work on this 14 day hitch at my job.  It makes me want to say, Hallelujah, Praise the Lord,  Thank You Jesus.

We have three crew boats that me and two other captains run in our oil field. One is my favorite. It’s rigged up with extra lighting, a flying bridge with gps navigation and is the best suited for night work of the three boats. Since my fourth day on this hitch it’s been out of service for regular maintenance at the shipyard.

The second best boat to run developed a transmission problem and has been out of service for about 4 nights now.

The third boat in our fleet is the least setup for night work, has tunnels for the props and doesn’t twin screw or maneuver like the other two boats do. That’s a big deal when you are checking about 80 oil wells without the other dockings each night.

There was a time, probably not too long ago when having to run the “black sheep” boat to work at night would have been such an aggravation that I’d have lost a lot of peace and joy in my job. Maybe because of the Torah Portions I am reading this week, “When You Set Up”


and hopefully because I am maturing as a Christian and want to act like one, it’s been somewhat of a test.

Actually, when the second boat broke and I knew I’d be running the black sheep for the rest of the hitch my first thought was, “this is a test.” “How you gonna act?”

I knew for certain I didn’t want to act like Israel did in Numbers chapter 11. That’s when they complained about wanting meat with their manna. They were longing for the life they left behind in Egypt and having a pity party. God wasn’t very happy with them but He gave them what they asked for until it came out of their noses.

Numbers 11, Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” So the Lord said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone. Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord , saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?” ’ ”
Numbers 11:4‭-‬6‭, ‬16‭-‬20 NKJV

There is the account of them complaining about food almost a year to the day before this event also told in Exodus 16 where God plainly says, “this is a test”

Exodus 16, Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
Exodus 16:2‭-‬4 NKJV

From the time my test has started I have been determined to not complain about my situation. Not only that, I decided that since I’d be spending time running the black sheep boat, it would be time well spent if I addressed some of the things it was lacking.

I worked on the throttles for both engines and got them to perform as they should. I got permission to mount some really bright led flood lights that weren’t being used in our warehouse to improve the lighting issue. And I took care of some other nitpicking things that needing tending to.

Through all of this, and for the last week, I have noticed my intimate moments in God’s presence have been absent. I listen and read my scriptures as usual and listen to sermons and worship music as usual too but I know for certain my nearness to God and His leading me for things to write about were just not there. I feel a real sadness about it because I miss the overwhelming feeling I get when I sense He is near.

Yesterday on the drive to work I just talked to Him the whole way, telling Him that I know You are there even if I don’t feel Your nearness. Then last night I thought about how I was doing on my test since the black sheep boat was now not so black with the fixing up I’d done. I remembered something about my school days. The teacher didn’t talk much if any when we were taking a test. So I Googled “When God Is Silent During A Test.”

These are some of the things I found,

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that region came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” But Jesus did not answer her a word.
Matthew 15:21-23b

It went on to say Jesus was silent to hear what His disciples might have to say. They didn’t do too good on their test of compassion,

23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.”

I also saw something about Job. When he kept questioning God as he was going through the test of all tests.

When God Is Silent

When God Is Silent

That’s how it was for Job. He wanted to hear from God. He wanted to understand why he was suffering. He wanted God to clear his name. “Let the Almighty answer me,” he pleaded (Job 31:35).

Voice from the Storm <img class=”i-amphtml-intrinsic-sizer” style=”max-width: 100%; display: block !important;” role=”presentation” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”” aria-hidden=”true” />

Finally, after all the questioning and struggle, in a voice from out of a storm, God spoke.

God asked where Job was when God began the work of creation. What had Job done to call the universe into being, to create his own life, or to make possible the existence of his possessions or his children or his health?

You might expect God to have answered all those chapters of questions from Job and his friends, who had been waxing eloquent about God and how he works. You might think God would have set the record straight on all the fine points.

But that isn’t what he did.

He answered Job’s questions with his own set of questions—four chapters of them—to remind Job that he was questioning almighty God.

God didn’t explain. He didn’t reveal his master plan. Instead, he revealed himself, and in the midst of his awesome presence Job’s questions weren’t answered—they simply disappeared.

Then the LORD said to Job, “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”

Then Job replied to the LORD, “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will put my hand over my mouth in silence. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.” (Job 40:1–5 NLT)

I don’t want to make this too long but there is one more time we need to consider when we think God has kept silent with us for too long,


Even when Jesus was suffering on the cross calling out “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:26) God was silent and Jesus felt abandoned and alone, because His human side had trouble understanding the silence, much like we do.

Jesus could have removed himself from this situation, but instead he remained obedient to our Father, and passed the test.

There was a time in my life when I would have never noticed the nearness to God’s presence being absent. I have so much to be thankful to my Dear Heavenly Father for but most of all it’s for the new heart He gave me. It’s a heart that can be touched by His nearness and can sense His distance, even if the distant feeling is only in my mind. Deep down I know I am never out of His sight or too far away for Him to hear me.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV

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