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Day 23: The Silence

Desolate Road

Day 23: The Silence


Between Malachi and Matthew

(In case you’re wondering, you won’t find anything there).


Roughly 400 years. That is the time between the ending of the Book of Malachi and the beginning of the Book of Matthew. The 400 years that took place between the Old and New Testament have been referred to as the Intertestamental Period, or the Silent Years, due to a general belief that God was silent during this time. With no official Scriptures recorded during this time nor evidence of prophets speaking, we often overlook this span of history. 

However, although God may have seemed silent, He was anything but inactive. God was moving greatly, preparing His people for the coming of His Son. Although there were no scriptural inspired books written during this time, there were writings from a historical perspective. 

Over these 400 years, we see God’s chosen nation cultivating an identity. The Hebrew people walked through a season in which they were tested and challenged by foreign cultures and ruling authorities, yet through this season God preserved and prepared His people for the coming of Jesus the Messiah. In hindsight we see that God prepared His people in so many ways during these 400 years of “silence.” Throughout this season of preparation, perhaps the most important way God molded the hearts of His people was to make them desperate for a Savior. The intense challenges of authority made the air thick with hope, and the expectation for a coming Messiah was not only prophesied, but necessary.  

Sometimes we feel God’s presence. Other times, it seems God has completely disappeared from our lives. Either way, I tend to find myself telling God: “Hey! Speak up! I know you’re there. But are you really listening to little old me?” 

I once read that there are two types of phases we can experience in our spiritual journeys: consolation and desolation. Consolation is when we hear God speaking to us or see His works clearly in our lives. We easily experience peace and joy in these times.

Desolation is when it’s difficult to hear God’s Word or see His works in our lives. We often feel anxiety, sadness or mistrust of God in these times. Some of Scripture’s most steadfast followers of God experienced years of spiritual desolation and feeling distant from God. Abraham, the father of our faith, spent 13 years without any communication from God — yet his faith only grew stronger. 

Why does God allow us to experience these times of “silence”?  There can be a variety of reasons. It could be God’s way of alerting us to the realization that we’re trapped in a pattern of sin. It could be a way to test and strengthen our faith through trials. It could be a way of making us more desperate for Him. No matter the reason, desolate times are an opportunity for growth so we can learn how to find the light in our personal darkness.

Remember, when we work through those times of desolation, it makes those times of consolation more precious. Times of desolation give us the opportunity to pursue the Pursuer. Our God is a jealous God. He is constantly pursuing us, but He also wants to be pursued as well. He desires a relationship with us, and a relationship is a two-way street. If you’re going through a time of spiritual desolation, I encourage you to look at it as a gift rather than a curse. Use it as an opportunity to show God how much you desire to be in relationship with Him as well. Pursue the greatest Pursuer of your heart.


If you’re in a season of desolation, a place where it has been difficult to hear God’s Word or see His works, let me offer three suggestions.

  1. Spend this time searching for new ways to pray. Have you ever written out your prayers? If not, consider writing them out….all of them. Have you ever prayed through the A.C.T.S. Model of prayer [Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication]? If not, pray in that manner for a bit.
  2. Read (more) Scripture. God may seem quiet right now, but He’s already written a love story, just for you, in the Bible. Even when you can’t hear Him, God’s speaking to you through His word.
  3. Reach out for community. We are made for relationships with others. Especially during times when you feel lost and alone in your faith life, it’s important to reach out and let others love you.



Equipping You to Make Disciples of Collegians & Young Adults

The Collegiate DiscipleMaker is an online publication providing practical encouragement and disciplemaking tools to those making disciples among college students and young adults. Our weekly articles are theologically rich, biblically grounded, pragmatically applicable, and college ministry oriented.

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