It isn't too difficult to visualize Old Testment prophets whose primary role was to pronounce doom and gloom on God's unfaithful people. But Malachi closed his prophecy with words that should have infused all future generations with hope:
Surely the day is coming...the day when people would see God's righteousness, and there would be healing for God's people with "Elijah" appeared (see Malachi 4:1-6).
The "Elijah" to whom Malachi pointed would be who we know as John the Baptist, and his purpose was to prepare the people for the ministry of the One who would set us free from slavery to sin.
What must it have been like to be alive during the intertestamental period? I sometimes think when I haven't clearly heard from God in a day that everything is crazy! But these people had no prophets, no message from the Lord - only a seemingly enless void - for 400 years! Some people very likely assumed that God had forgotten them. Others may have concluded that He no longer cared, or that He had given up on them. I think we all live through times during which it seems that we are unable to make contact with our Lord, and we inevitably experience the same fears and doubts. Living during these times of apparent one-way communication requires FAITH.
How do we make it through these silent times? By remembering what God has already said and done! Even though there had been no prophet since Malachi, the people had already received God's promises...and so have we. We already have access to the word of the Lord. The faith of some of the people alive between Malachi and John the Baptist no doubt matured as they continued to turn to God in faith and cling to His promises. And we can do the same!
In the final analysis, God is never really silent (see Hebrews 1:1-3). He might not furnish new revelation with every new day, but we always have His eternal and completely reliable Word to inspire hope in our hearts! After all, we serve the infinite and all-powerful God who pledges that He will ever be "faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made" (Psalm 145:13). And nowhere has this incredible promise been more beautifully and perfectly expressed than in the gift of His precious Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
So be strong...keep the faith...and know that God is with you in this desert silence! In my life, I have definitley learned that He takes me to those depths before He hits me with something huge - something I never could have planned or imagined!!
I chuckle remembering my winter this past year - yikes! But when I look where He has brought me, what He has done in my life, who He has placed in my life - how perfect His timing and provision!!! Trust in what you know to be true of Him...recount all that He has done, the depths from which He has already brought you - and walk in FAITH - knowing that He will lead you where He wants you!