”No Audible Response”
”Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.”
Jesus did not send any response to Mary and Martha about Lazarus’ illness. He might not have known how ill he really was and was just waiting to hear. But Mary and Martha prayed for healing for their brother and there was nothing happening. Lazarus did not get better. He died and it was not until a few days after his burial did Jesus make his way to see the sisters.
What happens when we pray? Do we expect instant responses from God which bring about immediate actions? Do we expect what we ask will be the best response by God? What if, there is no response heard, experienced or noticed, what then? Do we keep praying the same prayer or do we really ask for God’s will to be done?
Some of our prayers are followed by silence because they are wrong, others because they are bigger than we can understand. Jesus stayed where He was because He loved Martha and Mary. But their prayer was to have Lazarus back and well. Did they get him back? Yes, and more. Could they have even imagined that through their brother being raised from death, God’s glory was revealed, Jesus became known as the healer and this story is still being told even after two thousand years? No! But in the time of the silence when their prayers seemed to be unanswered, God knew what was to happen through Jesus. God revealed Jesus as the Christ to show what would happen later on as well; Jesus would die and rise again.
Waiting for God to respond is an exercise of hope and faith. It is a trust that God will respond at some point and because God also knows our hearts and willingness to grow how God responds is up to us. “God will give us the blessings we want, but if we would go further, His silence is the sign that He is bringing us into an even greater and more marvelous understanding of himself.” God does respond to prayers- yes, no, soon, not yet but it is up to us to pray earnestly for ourselves and others. We must wait through what is perceived as silence because it is often after the silence that we will learn more of a transformation and change of heart by God. But are we willing to wait?
O Lord, I have no inkling of your ways in external details, but I have the expectance of your wonders soon to be made visible. Lord, I look to you. How completely at rest I am, yet how free from seeing your way. You are God and I trust in you even in the silence. Amen.
Quotes from Oswald Chambers “If You Will Ask: ch 5 After God’s Silence- What?
Praying is not texting which is short and succinct communication asking for a similar response. Praying is lifting up our concerns to God and letting God respond His way and in His time. Do you recall a time when you have been disappointed that God did not answer your prayer or at least thought He did not answer your prayer? Was the outcome of your prayer petition different than you expected by being even more than you imagined? How would you explain the unheard response of God?