One of my earliest memories is of holding my mother’s hand on my first day of school. I was so nervous as I entered the classroom that I wouldn’t let go. The smoothness of her palm and the warmth of her fingers reassured me as my heart pounded in my chest. When I felt scared and alone, she was my lifeline and my security.
I was reminded of that day a few years ago as I sat in a dark room, once again holding my mother’s hand. The silence was deafening as I strained to hear the muted words coming from the dehydrated mouth of a woman whose body had been ravaged by cancer. This time my mother held on to my hand, seeking reassurance from its warmth in her time of distress. The comforter had become the comforted.
Those were heartbreaking days. One moment I was praying for a miraculous recovery, the next for the end to come quickly. Sometimes I gave in to uncontrollable tears, yet sometimes I felt
completely numb. I was also haunted by God’s conspicuous absence. What I would have given during those long, languishing hours for his still, small voice of calm.
I know I’m not alone in experiencing the silence of God. I’ve spoken to many people over the years who have shared my longing: youth devastated by a broken relationship, parents trying to deal with their child’s disability, couples desperate to conceive, a wife distraught over her husband’s infidelity, a woman whose innocent son was imprisoned.
All these people, confident in their faith as mature Christians, spoke of doubts about God that piled atop the struggles they were already facing. Why is it that in the times we need God most near, he seems most distant?
A Mute God?
When we read the Old Testament, we see a ...1