What do we do when God doesn’t answer our prayers?
When you, or I, or our prayer group, or even thousands of united praying Christians across the world, request God’s help and He doesn’t respond?
Many of you know about the helicopter flight that went missing in Palawan, within the Philippines, two weeks ago. If you don’t, you can read my previous post about it here or find updates from the PAMAS Facebook page.
Many of you know, already. And many of you, I hope, were praying. I know I was. The story touched me in a way few others have. My team here in Cambodia has been praying too, joining thousands of Christians across the world.
We prayed for survivors to be found by the extensive air, sea, and island search. Thousands of square miles of ocean across two countries were scoured by searchers in low flying planes, then by a US military plane’s thermal camera. Nearby islands were searched on foot. Close to a hundred boats searched by sea. Efforts to scan the ocean floor by sonar and find the helicopter have also failed.
I believe many have been asking, not just me.
I remember hearing once, when I was young, that God always answers prayers. But I feel that statement is misleading. Yes, technically, maybe it’s true. Yes, technically, someday, we’ll be able to look back on this and see why He allowed things to happen the way they did, and how it all worked out for our good, in the huge scheme of eternity. But now? God hasn’t answered. He’s silent.
In the last few weeks I’ve been introduced to a song that has deeply touched me. It’s called “The Silence of God.”
The song begins, describing this feeling of praying and hearing nothing but silence in reply. “My yoke is easy,” Jesus said. And indeed, it’s true! No other relationship gives peace and comfort like a relationship with Him.
But the burdens we must bear… They are not from Him, and they are not easy. They are not light. We want help, and answers, and sometimes there are none. Some Christians– “the mob”, the song describes them– naively think Jesus removes all troubles from us. But if this was true, why would we even need His peace and comfort?
The song breaks here, for a moment of silence. Then the music fades back in, telling of Jesus, in the garden, the night before His death. All was cold and quiet. His closest friends were sleeping and He was alone. He was in agony, praying earnestly for God to help Him, to remove His burden.
And there was no answer, but the silence of God.
Some requests cannot be granted us. Some questions cannot be answered now. But Jesus, the “man of all sorrows,” has never forgotten the sorrow we carry. And, “when the questions dissolve into the silence of God, the aching may remain, but the breaking does not. The aching may remain, but the breaking does not… In the holy, lonesome echo, of the silence of God.”
Listen to the song here. Or find it on Spotify.