*An audio version of today's devotional is available on Leading The Way's MY Devotional podcast.

Some people love silence; others detest it. Some are not happy unless there is noise. And then there are others who long for quiet solitude. There are some who talk nonstop, and there are others who hardly say a word. But there are times, for all of us, when we long to hear a word from someone we love, and we are met with silence. It can be devastating.

Read Genesis 17. Notice how this chapter begins: "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, . . ." (v. 1). That means that thirteen years had passed since the close of chapter 16. And in that time, it seems there was nothing from God. Not a word of encouragement. Not a word of reminder regarding His promises. Nothing.

The Bible doesn't tell us precisely why God chose not to speak to Abraham and Sarah during this period of time. Maybe He wanted Abraham and Sarah’s faith to develop to such a degree that it would become unshakable. Or maybe God was trying to imprint on their hearts and in their minds the consequences of their impetuous sin of running ahead of God and not waiting for Him. Remember: Sarah and Abraham decided it would be a good idea to "help" God keep His promises, so Abraham had a child with Sarah's servant, Hagar. Or maybe God was trying to bring them to the end of themselves.

We know that every word God speaks is for a purpose and every moment of His silence is equally purposeful. Whatever God was working in the hearts of Abraham and Sarah, it was to prepare them for what was coming next.

When you pray and hear only silence from heaven, God is working in that silence. Perhaps it's the silence of His loving rebuke—God is shaking you free from a certain stubborn sin in your life. Perhaps it is the silence of mercy—God is giving you time to reflect on His goodness. Or perhaps it is the silence of waiting. God wants you to trust Him and to rest in His promises. He has not forgotten you. In those moments, let your prayer be, “Lord, whatever it is that You are trying to teach me, help me to understand and submit to You.”

Prayer: Father, thank You that, though You are sometimes silent, You are ever with me and Your silence always has a purpose. Help me to listen to You in whatever manner You choose to communicate. Grant me discernment and great faith as I wait on You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’” (Lamentations 3:24).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Counting Stars in an Empty Sky, Part 7: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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