The Good News - Home
Why Wonít God JUST TELL ME!!!!
By David A. DePra
Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me. There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge. Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knows the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:3-10)
Have you ever wanted God to tell you what to do in a situation, only to receive back from Him total silence? Perhaps you are in a trial and donít know why. Maybe you are facing a major choice in life, and need direction. You simply want to know the will of God for you, so that you can obey Him, and do His will. But despite all of your prayers, fasting, and longing, God doesnít answer. Why? What is going on here?
If you are one of those folks to whom God speaks every five minutes, and who ALWAYS knows what God wants in a situation in the first moment of a situation, and who never has faced a trial wherein God is silent, well, then I suppose this article is not for you. But if you read the above paragraph and know what Iím talking about, then read on. I believe that the Word of God has some answers for us as to why God DOESNíT answer when we think we need an answer the most.
What is Normal?
One day, when I was in the middle of a great trial, and had spend many YEARS asking God to show me His will in a particular matter, I had to finally come to terms with the question as to why God wasnít telling me what I wanted to know Ė what I figured HE would surely want me to know. For years I had figured that if God had a will, and I wanted to do His will, that surely God would tell me His will so that I could do it. But so often, God was silent. There were times that this was frustrating. There were times, I admit, that I was even upset at God Ė all the while realizing the folly of my attitude.
When we are caught in the middle of a trial, it is often difficult to know where God is in the trial. Has HE caused this to happen? Or just allowed it? Or has the Devil been allowed access to me? More than that, what am I supposed to do in this trial? Does God want me to YIELD to the circumstances, or does He want me to RESIST them? Yet often God wonít tell us even that! He doesnít tell us anything!
Of course, there are many decisions in life wherein we must seek the will of God. Not all of them are what we would call trials. But they are important decisions. Yet again, God often seems silent on many of these issues. And the worst cases are when we make a decision, thinking it is the will of God, and then the thing turns out to be a disaster. When THAT happens it is so easy to think that we made the wrong decision Ė and worse Ė GOD LET US! He let us make the wrong decision despite the fact that we were in prayer over it, and really wanted to do His will. How could things possibly turn out that way if God cares for us?
We need to come to terms with this issue. It is not a unique one for most Christians. There are times when we cry, fast, pray, and do everything we know to do to try to find the will of God, and yet He doesnít seem to have any desire to tell us anything about His will. Some people even get involved in all kinds of deception because they are given a formula as to how to get God to respond to them! Their prayers didnít work, so maybe something else will! Or worse, we think that maybe God was never with us.
The fact is, nothing I have described about the silence of God is ABNORMAL. It is all NORMAL. That alone should actually be a comfort. For it means that the silence of God is NOT necessarily an indication that something is wrong. Not at all. It may be an indication that everything is right.
The Other Side of the Story
It is only natural for us to want to KNOW what is going on in our lives, and what we are supposed to do about it. We care about our lives and our loved ones. I donít think God is displeased with this one bit. After all, the alternative would be that we donít care what God is doing, or what we ought to be doing to obey Him. Yet the fact that we do care, and want to know, sets the stage for possible frustration when God wonít talk to us about it.
It always seemed to me to be ironic that, on the one hand, we are supposed to take all things to God, but on the other hand, God often doesnít seem to respond. But the word, "seem," here, I believe, is a key.
We must recognize two things: First, God knows what we donít know. The fact that we donít know it does nothing to jeopardize Godís purpose being accomplished to the full in our lives. Why? Because GOD knows all things and controls them! Secondly, God is well aware of what we donít know. Thus, even though we donít know what we think we need to know, and sometimes panic over it, or get frustrated because God doesnít tell us, God isnít panicked over anything. God isnít panicked over what we donít understand. Again Ė He knows and is in charge.
What should be evident here is that we get frustrated and sometimes panic because we are in the dark about certain things. In other words, we cannot take security in our knowledge of them. Has it ever occurred to us that this is the very thing God wants to KEEP US FROM DOING? Has it ever occurred to us that God is deliberately keeping us in the dark, so that we might learn to trust Him, instead of our understanding?
This is a difficult lesson to learn. But if we would learn it, there would come a great freedom. We could get to the place where we actually walk with God, NOT WORRYING about what we donít know Ė because we trust that it is sufficient that HE knows. And actually, isnít this what the life of faith is supposed to be like? Sure. Therefore, if God is not telling us what we think we need to know, it may be that He is actually giving us a wonderful occasion for growth.
If we assume that God is totally faithful to us Ė and He is Ė then when He isnít speaking to us then it is His love for us that motivates His silence. He knows that if He spoke to us that it would not help us, but may even thwart the eternal purpose God has for us. It takes time and maturity to come to terms with the silence of God. But Godís silence is His way of saying to us, "I will not tell you what you want to know. Trust Me anyways."
The other side of the our story or trial may be one which we cannot see. But God does see it. He knows the beginning from the end. Thus, despite the fact that we think we MUST KNOW Ė God may ordain that we NOT know. We need to come to the place where we recognize this and believe.
What About Deception?
We need to get something straight: God has not left us to GUESS what His will is for a certain situation. Thus, if our hearts are open to Him, and we are seeking His will, we will hear Him IF Ė and I say IF Ė He is speaking. But this also leads us to another conclusion: If our hearts are open and we are NOT hearing, then God is NOT speaking. He doesnít want us to know!
Get that. Itís vital to see. There are times when God will not tell us what we think we MUST know! It isnít going to do us any good arguing about it with Him. There is nothing we can do to drag the information out of Him. He wants us to move forward NOT KNOWING Ė but trusting that it is sufficient for HIM to know.
But wait. What if I am totally blind and deceived, such that I cannot hear the voice of God? What if I just think my heart is open, but it really isnít? What if I am so deceived that yes, I am totally sure about what I believe, yet totally wrong? There have, you know, been people in this condition. People in cults are like that. They are SURE. But they are wrong. What if I am deceived to that extent?
It is a fundamental aspect of faith to believe that if I am deceived about what I believe, that God will also be faithful to show me that. Didnít Jesus promise that the Holy Spirit would guide us into ALL TRUTH? Sure. That promise would be meaningless if there were no possibility of error. God promises that even if we are all wrong in life that He will bring us into the Truth. We need only keep our hearts open. And if our hearts are not open, God even promises to try to open them.
It is a fact that God is always trying to show people the Truth. Even people in cults. But often, those in cults push it away. So God keeps trying. God has not left us to ourselves to figure Him out. He has not left it to us to GUESS at what His will might be. No. He has promised that He will ALWAYS be in the process of guiding us into Truth. So we can even trust Him to do that.
Not a Formula
What about those times when we have a big decision to make Ė and God hasnít indicated to us what we ought to do? There are times when deadlines for decisions are upon us, and the problems are real. What then? Well, then we do what we believe God would have us do Ė despite His silence. We say, "God, you have not told me what to do. Therefore, I make this choice with the intention of glorifying You."
Nine times out of ten, if our hearts are open before the Lord, we will find out that even though God hasnít directly indicated how we ought to choose, that there is something about the alternatives which indicate the highest choice. Iím talking here, not about a choice between moral right and wrong Ė for in those cases we DO KNOW what to do. No. Iím talking about a choice between two or more morally RIGHT choices. More often than not, the choice that honors God the MOST is the right one.
Now notice something here. I did not say that the right choice is always the one which cuts the best deal for us. Neither did I say that making the right choice is an automatic ticket which keeps us out of trouble. Has it ever occurred to us that the choice God would have us make in a situation Ė the one which honors God the most Ė is one which will end up making the most trouble for us?
The RESULTS of our choices do not necessarily indicate whether they were the right ones. Now, Iím not saying that there arenít consequences for wrong choices. But we do need to realize that there are also consequences for RIGHT choices. We must often suffer for the sake of righteousness. We must carry our Cross. Sometimes we can be perfectly in the will of God, and everything will go wrong. This is always a possibility.
You see, we evaluate our choices by whether they resulted in OUR success, goals, or comfort. God never evaluates them in that way. God evaluates our choices by whether we made them IN FAITH Ė and by whether they feed the life of Christ in us. Once we realize that, we will realize that the choices we make in faith may, in fact, cost us everything. But the suffering and cost will be IN Godís will, in that case, and not unnecessary, or the result of sin. We will be suffering according to the will of God.
Jesus never once sinned. Yet He suffered more than anyone who ever lived. All of the apostles suffered for following Christ. What if they had said, "This suffering is an indication that we have gotten out of the will of God!" You can see the nonsense and error to which this would lead.
Information vs. Revelation
Have you ever said, "If God would just TELL ME the meaning of what is happening, and what His purpose is in it, THEN I would feel much better?" Or have you said, "I have no clue where God is in this thing, and if God would just TELL ME, then I would be able to believe?"
We want information. We want to know the THING that we think will solve our perplexity. But God is rarely concerned about that. What God wants is revelation. Rather than TELL US THINGS, God wants to REVEAL Himself to us.
Now, I know that this will sound rather disappointing to some. But only until we SEE JESUS. Then we will understand that it was all worth it. Furthermore, God has not forgotten about us, or our problems. He will solve them Ė once He has used them for His greater purpose.
Herein we see the real reason why God is often silent to us about what we think we need to know. We donít need information. In fact, if God told us what we think we need to know, either it would do us harm, or we would never understand. What we need is a revelation of Jesus Christ Ė and Godís silence to us is often what He uses to condition us FOR that revelation.
A new and bigger revelation of Jesus Christ is NOT information or facts about Jesus. It is not a matter of discovering the meaning of a Bible verse, or of figuring out a doctrine. No. A revelation of Jesus means that I have been conformed to the point where I can not only see what God wants me to see, but be able to move forward under itís impact.
At the beginning of this articles, we quoted the book of Job. Job cried out to God for ANSWERS. He said, "If God would only TELL ME WHY I am suffering, then I would be able to get through it. I would gain strength from His answer. But He wonít tell me. So I am left in the suffering, without answers." If this were the only passage in scripture that indicated that Godís silence in the midst of our suffering was NORMAL, it would be enough. But there are many more. Job wanted to know Ė he wanted to understand. But God wanted to give Him much more.
Letís read the end of the story of Job. After spending 38 chapters or so, trying to sort out his suffering, with prayer, crying, and anguish, Job still had NO answers. Why? Because God had not given Him any. And Job was honest enough to refuse to invent some answers. But what did happen? Well, Job, THROUGH his suffering had finally gotten to the place where God was able to come and Ė not give Him answers Ė but reveal HIMSELF to Job.
First, God began to talk to Job. He said, "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? "(Job 38:1-2) God was, in effect, saying, "Job, I havenít said a word to you about what you are going through. You were never supposed to understand. Yet you continue to try to explain the unexplainable. Have you come to that conclusion yet? Are you done yet?" God then speaks to Job about how HIS thoughts are far beyond anything which Job could capture in a doctrine, teaching, or bit of information.
Secondly, Job answered the LORD, and said, "I know that You can do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from YouÖ.Therefore have I uttered what I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew notÖ.I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye sees You. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Do you see what did it for Job? He did not see the answers he thought he needed. But he did see GOD. What a difference!
We do not need information or explanations. We just donít. If we DID, then God would give them to us!! Believe it. If what we needed was to be told what TO DO Ė God would tell us. If what we needed was to be told where we are off the track Ė God would tell us. But most often, none of this is the problem. Facts, information, doctrines, explanations, or the formulas are NOT what we need. We need to SEE JESUS. We need to SEE GOD.
The great irony is that all of the silence of God, and our suffering because of it, are the very things which God uses in our lives Ė if we will just hang in there by faith Ė to make us ready FOR the revelation we need. The very thing we complain about Ė Godís silence Ė is often the very thing God knows we need! God wants to reveal HIMSELF to us. But we must go through all of this suffering to be morally and spiritually adjusted for it.
God said, at the end of the book of Job, that Job had, "spoken of Him rightly." (Job 42:7 and 42:8) That might seem hard to believe, but despite all of Jobís suffering, and his lack of understanding, he spoke of God rightly. Yet Job himself admitted that he had, "uttered what I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." In other words, Job had spoken the right facts about God, but had not yet seen God Himself Ė he had therefore spoken of things too wonderful for him!
Right here we see proof positive that information and facts about what is happening in our lives wonít do it for us. At best, even if we understand them correctly, they will only be facts. They will not be GOD HIMSELF. You cannot capture God in doctrines, teachings, and in an understanding of the facts. No. You have to SEE JESUS.
Job did see God. And when he did see God, he repented! Repented of what? Of sin? No. Of thinking that the facts he believed about God were equal to seeing God Himself!
God turned the captivity of Job once Job saw God, and then prayed for his friends. The praying for his friends shows that Job was done nagging God for explanations, and had come to the place where he was willing to leave himself alone Ė in the hands of God. That is surrender and faith. It shows that Job had come to the place where God wanted him to come. And then God ended the trial.
The key to the end of our trial is not to figure out how to get God to release us. The key is not information or facts. The key is for US TO BE CHANGED through the trial. If we are, then we will SEE JESUS as the outcome. And then the trial will have served itís purpose. God can then possibly end it.
Jesus said, "Seek you first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added." (Matt. 6:33) In every circumstance of life, God is telling us to seek, not necessarily answers or explanations, but HIS purpose. And if we do, Jesus said, God promises to give you everything else you need in the trial. If you need answers, God will give them. If you need silence, then God will provide that.
Godís kingdom is HIS ORDER of things. If we are seeking HIS kingdom, then it is going to often run contrary to OUR order. Thus, in the beginning especially, we will not understand, for we will have little frame of reference for His order. But for God to be faithful, He must continue doing things along the line of His kingdom and order, rather than ours Ė for if God did things OUR way, we would never grow. We would settle into our way. So God works according to His kingdom, often to the loving disregard to ours, and during that process we CANNOT understand.
Get that. We CANNOT understand. It is not a matter of wanting to. Neither is it a matter of God arbitrarily deciding to refuse to tell us things. Nope. We cannot understand because it involves something OUTSIDE of our frame of reference. Thus, God is silent. But He is slowly using our situation to get us adjusted for a revelation. Eventually, if we continue to believe, we will see Jesus. And then all the information we thought we needed to have will seem anti-climactic. We will have something eternal.
If God is silent to us in our trial, then even if we think there is something we MUST know, then we are wrong. We donít need to know. It is sufficient that God knows. This is a hard word for some of us, but it is a true word. The lesson is all through the Bible. For those who are willing to go on in faith, there is a personal revelation of God waiting, which once received, will make all the suffering and all the silence worth it. *
The Good News - Home