When God Is Silent

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The Lord wants us to pursue Him even when our prayers go unanswered.

John 11:1-27

Have you ever felt as if God were giving you the silent treatment? Perhaps you prayed and asked Him to give you direction for your life but didn’t hear a thing. Maybe you are going through some physical illness or a family problem, and nothing’s happening even though you’ve pleaded with God.

How do you respond when the Lord doesn’t appear to be answering your prayers? Do you take advantage of the opportunity to learn something from the experience, or do you simply conclude that He is ignoring you? Typical responses are disappointment (God let me down), discouragement (I should stop praying), confusion (Where is God?), feelings of guilt (I did something wrong), anger (God isn’t faithful!) and fear (God has deserted me).

Today’s passage gives us a good example of a time when the Lord seemed unconcerned with the life of someone He loved. On hearing that His friend was sick and about to die, Jesus delayed doing anything for two days! His disciples and the dying man’s sisters—Mary and Martha—no doubt wondered why Jesus seemed not to care. Yet they continued to trust Him, and ultimately their faith was strengthened.

When we can’t hear God, it doesn’t mean He’s asleep or unaware of our circumstances. It also doesn’t mean He is going to deny our request. However, He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him that is independent of how He responds to our prayers—we must love Him just because He is God. Consider the basis of your love for the Lord, and ask Him to help you make it unconditional.

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