Perhaps God is so silent with us for a reason. If He were to answer, if He were to respond to even one question or one plea, this would spell the end of our free will.For once we knew His preferences for us, once we could sense His approval or disapproval, we would no longer exercise our own preferences, we would not choose our actions. We would be like children again, led by His hand. Perhaps He did not want this. Perhaps He did not create us to be perpetual children. Perhaps He designed the world so we could think about it and choose our actions freely.
But mentioning free will and God's design in the same sentence presents a predicament—these two ideas need to be somehow reconciled. For if we believe that God designed the world in a certain way, and the world includes us and our free will, its design has to be flexible enough for us to exercise our free will within it. We should be able to choose to participate in the design or not, and if so, to which degree. Should we choose to do something with our life—however small our contribution may be—maybe to improve the design itself, or at least to try to tinker with it, we should be able to do so. Should we choose to stay away from participating and become hermits, for example, we should be able to do so too. Or should we choose to participate only partially, every third Tuesday of the month, we should be free to do so as well.
This thinking smacks of being childish. We want God's design to be there and not to be there at the same time. We want God to be a loving father who is not overly strict. This is how we created His image in the Old Testament: God is occasionally stern—to the point of destroying almost the entire humankind—but loving and caring the rest of the time. This is how we created His image in the New Testament, too: God so loved the world that He sent His own Son to redeem it. Maybe all we really want is a father again; whatever beings we imagine as our gods, we want the familiar features of our parents. Maybe we are perpetual children after all. We want to play in our sandbox—freely and without supervision—and build whatever we want out of sand, yet we want our father nearby for comfort and protection.
There is no need to reconcile anything. This is how it works. Our free will fits within God's design so well because it is free only to a degree. Time and space are our bounds. We have only so much time until we are gone, and we have only so much energy until it runs out. Gravity will assure that we can jump, but not too high, that we can fly, but not too far. We cannot cause too much damage. Sitting in the sand, we can fight with other players, we can even kick them out, we can build our own castles or destroy theirs, but we cannot destroy the sandbox itself. Maybe this is the secret of the design.