Comfort for When We Can't Hear God

Jennifer Slattery
Published Jun 25, 2024
Comfort for When We Can't Hear God

Most of us feel uncomfortable with unknowns, in part because we like to plot and plan in the hopes of avoiding whatever calamity might lie ahead. But God can use our discomfort for good by revealing cracks in our faith that feed our desire for control.

Years ago, as I approached my last semester in college, I fervently prayed for guidance concerning my next steps. After weeks of no response, I began to fret. What if I missed God’s will? What if He didn’t have a plan for me at all and I’d wasted years and thousands of dollars earning a Christian ministry degree? Sadly, I became so focused on the Lord’s apparent silence in regard to my future that I often robbed myself of the joy and peace of simply connecting with Him. 

While I still tend toward impatience when facing life’s unknowns, I find comfort and assurance in these unchanging truths: God will make His will clear, He’ll nudge me when I venture off path, and His plans for me are good. 

If you find yourself waiting on the Lord’s instructions and have begun to feel unsure, may these biblical promises strengthen and embolden your soul:

God Makes His Will Known

Throughout Scripture, the Lord refers to His followers as sheep and Himself as our shepherd. This analogy gains depth when one considers how desperately these creatures need a caretaker. If left alone, they’re prone to wander from their pasture and into dire situations. For example, the BBC tells of a time when over a thousand sheep followed one another straight off a cliff. More recently, a clip went viral showing a sheep who jumped into the same trench a man freed him from only moments prior

The Bible and human history illustrate the commonality we share with these foolish and defenseless animals. It also assures us, however, that, as God’s children, we remain within our Father’s protective care. Jesus affirmed this in His conversation with the Pharisees in John 10. He said:

"The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (vs. 2-4, emphasis mine). 

We read a similar promise in Isaiah 30:21, which states, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (emphasis mine). Both Scriptures reveal that God takes responsibility for making His will known. What’s more, Jesus told us our heavenly Father loves us even more deeply and faithfully than our earthly parents. Nurturing Dads don’t purposefully confuse their children, but, rather, they intentionally communicate in ways their kids will understand. 

Can we expect any less from our Savior? And just as an attentive father reiterates important instructions numerous times to ensure they stick, our Lord repeats the most important truths so that we won’t miss them. We see this in all the times Scripture makes clear the route to salvation and also in God’s tendency to confirm, through various sources, His words implanted in our hearts. He might imprint an idea in our souls, then repeat this in a sermon, then through the words of a song or the encouragement of a friend. So long as we are seeking to honor Him, we can trust Him to patiently and persistently reveal precisely what He wants us to do next. 

I’ve found, however, that He rarely discloses my journey beyond my very next step. I’m convinced, were He to do so, I’d either become too overwhelmed to focus fully on the present or I’d race ahead in my wisdom, timing, and strength. This, in turn, would only increase my self-reliance and distance me from Christ, the Source of everything my soul most craves. Carol McCracken and I discuss this in a Faith Over Fear podcast episode titled “Hearing God’s Voice More Clearly.” 

However, when I don’t know what lies ahead, I’m more apt to cling to God. As I do, I find that while my divine assignment is important, my ever-deepening relationship with Him brings the greatest fulfillment. How wonderful that He wants us to experience such a precious gift!  

God Redirects Our Wayward Steps

In her Discerning the Voice of God Bible Study, Priscilla Shirer draws an analogy between God’s guidance and a GPS. When we’re cruising down the correct road, our app remains silent. The moment we veer off course, however, we hear, “At the next stop sign, take a left” again and again until we’re back on track. 

God does the same with us through a prick in our spirit, a verse in Scripture, and whatever other means necessary to steer us back to His will. He wants us living obediently and engaging in that for which He created us. How do I know this? Because Jesus died to set us free from everything that taints and deceives our souls, dulls our spiritual hearing, and hinders our relationship with Him. He also gave us the Holy Spirit upon our conversion to teach and remind us of His truth, convict us of sin and error, and provide constant and perfect guidance for every situation.  

God Promises Us a Hopeful Future

When I feel anxiety related to life’s unknowns, it’s usually because there’s a part of me that fears I won’t like where God leads. Many times, I’ve subconsciously determined I’ll only experience joy through certain endeavors and opportunities. But this contradicts Christ’s heart and His words recorded in John 10:10, when He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The New Living Translation phrases the latter half of this verse this way: “… My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” In the New American Standard Bible it reads, “I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.”

The original Greek describes something filled beyond capacity and expectation. I often equate this to someone filling a glass with refreshing water and then continuing to pour so that it overflows. This reiterates God’s promise in Scripture nearly 1,500 years prior when He said, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

But Jesus’ words in John 10 also provide a warning. Our joy, peace, and fulfillment increase as we follow Him (even if that means waiting on Him). Whenever we resist Him, however, we rob ourselves of the very gifts He died to give us and head steadily toward increased dysfunction, and, ultimately, death. This encourages us to remain patient, obedient, and faithful, trusting Him to lead us toward His perfect will, in His perfect timing.

Most of us feel uncomfortable with unknowns, in part because we like to plot and plan in the hopes of avoiding whatever calamity might lie ahead. But God can use our discomfort for good by revealing cracks in our faith that feed our desire for control. We might also fear that God won’t or can’t make His will known, but Scripture assures us this is far from true. Jesus is our tender, ever-present, long-suffering Savior who invites us to come to Him, learn from Him, and obey however He leads. He will take care of everything else, including training our spiritual ears to hear Him and our feet to follow.   

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Anthony Tran

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who co-hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast and, along with a team of 6, the Your Daily Bible Verse podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and taught at writers conferences across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at

She’s passionate about helping people experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE and make sure to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and GodTube.