When Heaven is Silent – Revelation 8:1

 

                Silence is one of the most difficult things to bear. There is a lot that silence can communicate. A husband is always concerned and worried when his wife is silent. There is an awkwardness that comes when you walk into a room that is completely silent. When a child has disappointed his or her parents, and no word is spoken, the silence cuts deep into the child’s heart. Yes, silence is a very powerful thing.

Revelation 8:1 says, When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.”[1] Jesus is opening the seventh seal. This seventh seal reveals the awesome and terrible wrath of God that is about to be poured out on the earth during the last half of the tribulation period. This silence is very strange and powerful. Previously, John witnessed a lot of noise in heaven. Multitudes were gathered around the throne and worshipped God continually. The raptured church is there, the elders are there, the angels are there, the creatures are there. Sounds of praise and music fill the air. Lightning and thunder proceed from the throne of God. Then, the Lamb of God opens the seventh seal. As He opens the seal, all of heaven is hushed. There is absolute total silence. There is no time in heaven, yet, John is still within the limits of time and he describes the silence as lasting for half an hour. All of heaven is silent becomes the opening of the seventh seal reveals what is to come. The wrath of God is about to be poured out upon the earth in a way that has never been seen before; and there are no words left to say.

Have you ever felt like heaven is silent? You pray about things and it seems as if God is not there. You may go weeks, months, or even years and it is as if God does not even exist, He is completely silent. There are a couple of things that such silence brings. First of all, silence brings fear. It is a fearful thing when heaven is silent. Imagine a parent who asks their child to come and sit down to have a talk. The parent starts out by not saying a word, just simply glares at the child. The silence is only a few minutes, but it feels like an eternity. There is a fear that sweeps over the child. When God is silent in our lives, it brings fear. We become fearful of the unknown, not knowing what God is about to do. We are fearful that God has abandoned us and He doesn’t care. Have you ever felt like God has abandoned you? Have you ever felt as if you are all alone? Silence in heaven is a very fearful thing. Not only does silence bring fear, but also, silence brings anticipation. The silence in heaven as described by John when the seventh seal is opened, is a silence that comes from the anticipation of what God is about to do. Judgment and wrath is about to fall like never seen before. The anticipation of this brings an awe of the power of God as heaven stands in silence. There is also anticipation over the fact that this is the last seal. This is the last chapter of the scroll. The final judgment is coming and the end is near. It will all be over soon. Such anticipation is beyond words and silence falls over heaven. There is a principle here that we need to understand. Anytime God is silent in our lives, the silence is a prelude to something powerful. In other words, God is about to do something. He may be about to bless you, or He may be about to discipline you. Whatever it may be, silence from God is a prelude to an act of God. Think about it. Does it seem that your prayers are not heard? Do you pour your heart out to God, and yet, there is no response? Are you seeking direction for your life, and yet, God is silent? If so, don’t give up, God is about to do something powerful. He is about to teach you something. He is about to show you His will. He is about to perform a miracle. Silence brings anticipation.

The question we should consider then is simply, what do we do when heaven is silent? While we are waiting on God to do something, what do we do while we are waiting? There are four basic things we should do. First of all, we should worship. I love the chorus, ‘it’s amazing what praising can good!’ When heaven is silent, just worship God. Focus on His goodness. Focus and His grace and love. Worship Him for who He is and for the blessings that He has given to you over the years. One of the greatest tests of our faith is whether or not we can worship Him when He is silent. We should worship Him without any expectation for a response. We should just simply worship Him because He is God. You may say, I don’t feel like it. Do it anyways. Often times, when we worship God when we don’t feel like, it is when He begins to do the miraculous. Just worship Him. A second thing we should do when God is silent is walk. In other words, maintain your walk with God even if you feel that He is not there. Keep reading your Bible every day. Pray every day. Be faithful in your church attendance. Just simply carry on. Don’t stop just because God is silent. Perhaps He is testing you to see if you will continue in the faith even when He is silent. When God is silent, don’t stop. Walk with Him even when you do not feel like He is there. A third thing we should do when God is silent is work. Don’t stop serving Him. Be faithful to living one day at a time for Him. Get involved in the work of the ministry. Do something. He may be silent, but He is not done using you. Live everyday as if it is your last. Tell people about Jesus. Feed the hungry. Give shelter to the homeless. Show the love of Jesus to the world. Do the work of the ministry even when God is silent. A final thing we should do when God is silent is probably the hardest of all, and that is: wait. Remember, when God is silent, it means that God is about to do something. Therefore, wait. Don’t give up, just wait. God will answer in His time. Just wait. There is a powerful song by John Waller that encourages us to wait. The lyrics go like this:

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I’m hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting, I’m waiting on You, Lord

                It is not easy when heaven is silent. Yet, when heaven is silent in our lives, we must continue to worship Him and serve Him, while we wait. I encourage you: don’t give up. Keep on praying. Keep on believing. Keep on serving. Even when heaven is silent.


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Re 8:1). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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