Habermas is well respected as an apologist and historian, yet this book appears to be a personal journey through his unanswered questions rather than the cohesive scholarly look into difficult subject matter I had expected. In fact, the title is misleading. This book doesn’t deal with the reasons for God’s silence so much as it does with highlighting biblical and modern examples of God’s appearance and “disappearance” to His people. Those who need that encouragement may get what they’re looking for from this read. For those looking for a quick, biblically sound list of why God’s voice seems muted, check out my post on Questions to Ask Ourselves when God is Silent.
But despite Habermas’ efforts to explain the balance between what God has allowed us to experience and what He chooses to heal, I felt his argument was circular, unorganized, superficial, and lacking divine wisdom. It also bothered me that Habermas lumps together suffering and persecution as they are not the same despite sharing a few attributes. And I felt the one chapter that really was most important (regarding telling ourselves positive truths), lacked the theological emphasis it needed to separate solid biblical truths from secular psychological principles.
I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of the Tyndale Blog Network.
1) Where is my focus? How much have I truly wanted God and how much may I actually be desiring the things of the world (safety, health, physical needs…)?
2) When did I last hear Him and what did He say? Was I obedient with the last message He gave me? Did I learn and grow from it? Was it an encouragement that I need to rest in during this rough time? An exhortation that I still need to obey?
3) What things am I hearing and who is saying them? Am I believing deceptive spirits and worldly advice? Is the Lord speaking in small ways that I’ve brushed off as something else?
4) Am I really listening for Him? Have I limited His response by assuming He will say something particular? Am I open to Him speaking whatever He wants through any means?
5) Have I been willing and able to rest in His presence in silence? Does my faith depend on His affirmation, or can I abide in Him knowing His silence is not an absence?
6) Do I know His voice well or is a personal encounter and relationship with God something I need to put extra focus on? May it be that His silence is a hint for me to look for Him more thoroughly–an invitation that He’s hiding so that I can find Him?
7) How can I simplify my life to make room for the Lord’s voice? How can I position myself to receive more of the Holy Spirit?
Have I forgotten anything? Can you think of other helpful things to reflect on and consider when God seems distant, silent, or absent?