In the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict last week—“There were times (during my reign as Pope) that it seemed the Lord was sleeping.”
Really? Sleeping? Were it not his retirement speech, the call for his resignation should have been resounding.
When we pray about something that weighs heavily on our hearts, God’s seeming silence is just that … seeming. In fact, perhaps that is his answer, and we just aren’t listening.
God does not sleep, or forget to answer, or have more important things to do. He not only hears our prayers—He urges us to pray, since it unleashes a power that is not available otherwise.
There are times in life when we feel the need for an immediate answer from God or His direction, but that doesn’t necessarily correlate with His plan. Once again, are we trying to constrict God to doing what we want Him to do—and when we want Him to do it.
What should we do in response then, when we need to hear from God or feel His presence—and nothing happens?
First, don’t blame God for not being on your timeline—and be proactive. That’s easy to say, but what does it mean?
Five questions we may want to ask when facing what seems to be silence from God:
- Where is my heart?
- Am I thinking on God’s terms or my own. In other words—is this my plan that I want God to stamp with His blessing, or is it His plan of which I want to be a part?
- What is the urgency?
- Is it truly important to receive an answer right away, or is it simply our desire that drives the urgency? Sometimes God makes us wait for His good purpose that we may or may not ever understand, but the desire for a quick answer is usually on our side of the fence, not His.
- What am I doing to make sure I hear God?
- Sounds simple, but am I attentive to what God says? Has He already answered by saying something we don’t want to hear?
- How should I pray?
- Praying is critical, but how do we best approach it? Do we leave room for God to act? Or are we so certain of the answer we want that we pray along the name it and claim it plan? Telling God what we want and demanding that He deliver is a huge sinkhole. It indicates that we actually know what needs to happen—He just needs to bless it.
- What do I do while I’m waiting for an answer?
- Work—don’t sit and wait for something to happen. Keep on doing your work, and if there is homework (due diligence) you should be doing so that you are well-informed.
- Pray—for God’s plan to be carried out, and for you not to miss what he has for you to do.
- Read—God’s Word daily, if not more often. We can’t possibly hear God speaking if we are not reading Scripture. Satan will do all he can to keep you from hearing God’s voice.
There is one thing to keep in mind. No matter what you are going through, or how important the issue may be—God is not sleeping.