It comes as no surprise that when we feel like we need answers, we expect, well…answers! Staying uninformed can produce anxiety and a fear of the unknown. So, in an attempt to ease our discomfort, we’ll often try to figure things out ourselves and take matters into our own hands. I haven’t met anybody who actually enjoys waiting, especially in prolonged silence. Yet this is the exact predicament we all have or will experience throughout our lives. Sometimes it feels like no matter how many times we pray or cry out to God about a situation, nothing is happening. Nothing is changing. Things may even seem to get worse!
Why the Silence?
You may be tempted to think that God doesn’t care about you or your situation when this happens. Or that He has forgotten you. The enemy would love for you to believe that, but scripture clearly tells us otherwise. His word says that God knows you intimately, cares about every aspect of your life, and that He will never leave you. So if you find yourself going through a long waiting process without an answer from God, consider asking yourself the following four questions:
Is there sin in my life that needs to be removed? If you are doing something against God’s will without any remorse or desire to change, it can prevent God from answering your prayers. In 1 Peter 3:7, it says for husbands to “show honor to your wives…so that your prayers may not be hindered.” In Isaiah 1:15, God told those who claimed to serve him but acted rebelliously: “Even though you make many prayers, I am not listening; with bloodshed your very hands have become filled.” The way you choose to live matters to God! He is more concerned with your soul than anything else; therefore, it’s good to examine your spiritual well-being on a regular basis.
Is God trying to teach me something? God has chosen you to be “conformed to the image of His son” (Romans 8:29) and is transforming you into that image from “glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). There have been waiting periods in my life that have actually brought about new opportunities and experiences that I never would have encountered had I been given my answers right away. It was during my most painful season that God began to open my eyes and enlarge my heart towards the needs of people around me like never before. He began to fine-tune my ear to hear His voice more clearly, and revealed truth to me as I sought after it in His word. Perhaps He is trying to do the same thing with you.
Is this a test? After learning new truths and life lessons, you can be a sure a test will follow. That’s the only way to know if you’re ready for the next level God has for you. Although Joseph had been given a promise from God early in his life, he had to endure many years of trials that made the promise seem impossible. According to Psalm 105:19, “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” Joseph had to prove that he was ready for the calling God had placed upon his life. And as the saying goes, the teacher is always silent during the test!
Is God saying No? God loves you too much to give you something you’re not ready for or isn’t good for you. Just like good parents wouldn’t hand their toddler a sharp knife, or their 10-year-old the car keys, God will say “no” to protect you or someone else involved. He is also not a genie that will grant your every wish just because you want something really badly. You have to make sure your request is in alignment with His will for your life and realize that the answer won’t always be “Yes.”
Even through the silence, regardless of the reason, know that God is always at work in your life and wants the very best for you. We don’t always understand it in the moment because His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). But He is a faithful God and will give you the answer you need in His perfect timing.