HANDLING GOD'S SILENCE WHEN YOU PRAY
Have you ever prayed fervently and faithfully for something and simply felt like God was not responding to your prayers? You may wonder if God is hearing you as you pray. Or, you may question if God is concerned enough about what is going on to work in your life. Those seasons when you feel as if God is not responding to your prayers are difficult times. How do you handle it when God's answer to your prayers seems to be silence?
2 Examples When Jesus Seemed Silent
1. Lazarus and His Sisters
In John 11, word gets to Jesus that His friend Lazarus was ill and near death. When Jesus hears the news, His response is to wait four more days before heading to Bethany where Lazarus was. Though His disciples did not know it yet, Jesus already knows that Lazarus had died. Jesus tells His disciples that the time had come to go to Lazarus, and He promises that this event will not end in Lazarus' death.
Approaching Bethany, Jesus is confronted by each of Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha. Both respond that if Jesus had come sooner, Lazarus would not have died. While they were going through the anguish of watching their brother die, Jesus stays away. Jesus stays silent. Jesus does not show up in time.
2. The Disciples in a Storm
In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus and the disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee when a storm hits. The disciples do everything they can to navigate the boat through the storm, but it begins to look hopeless to them. They are frightened that the boat will be overcome by the waves and the wind and that they are going to die. All the while, Jesus is sleeping in the back of the boat.
The disciples wake Jesus up and ask Jesus if He cares if they drown. They see the wind, the waves, and their impending doom. Jesus is sleeping and seems to be unconcerned about their predicament. During the terrible storm, Jesus remains asleep and silent. He is not responding to the hopeless and dire situation that the disciples are facing.
Your Example of When Jesus Stays Silent
Has there been a time when it seems like Jesus does not respond in your situation? No matter how much you pray and plead with God, nothing happens. You become frustrated and defeated. You wonder where God is in your hour of deepest need. When you need Him most, Jesus stays silent. What do you do then?
Proper Responses to God's Silence:
1. Show Faith
After Jesus calms the storms for His disciples, Jesus asks them if they have no faith. This was an opportunity to display that they could trust Jesus to handle the storm even when He was sleeping. The storm you are in is an opportunity for you to walk in faith while you wait on God to move. Your faith can shine when it seems that God's response to your prayers is silence.
2. Watch for the Miraculous
After Jesus speaks to the sisters of Lazarus, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Jesus steps in and does an even greater miracle than Mary and Martha were asking for. When God seems silent, start watching for a mighty move of the Lord. The miracle may not come as you wish and the hand of God may move in different ways than you are asking, but God will move in the situation. When God seems silent, watch for Him to move in bigger ways than you expected.
Sometimes it seems that God does not hear you when you pray. He does. And, He will respond in the right way at the right time. Until then, walk in faith and watch for the miracle. God will be found faithful.