Summary: It is because of God’s best intention and purpose that He is sometimes silent in answering our prayers.
WHEN GOD IS SILENT
A. Experience tells us that sometimes God answers our prayer with nothing but silence. It’s undeniable. There are times that we perceived God has deemed to deny us the answer of our prayers.
B. Why? What are the reasons behind God’s silence, delay or denial?
C. We have several examples in the Bible for scrutiny and study to find the reasons why God sometimes chooses to answer our prayers with deafening silence and no.
I. FIRST EXAMPLE: JESUS –the Son of God (Matthew 26:39).
a) Before His arrest, Jesus was with His disciples in a certain house to celebrate the Passover meal. While celebrating His “Last Supper”, He talked and His words indicated that His death is at hand, “something” that the disciples didn’t understand at that time. After the supper, they went to Gethsame. The disciples may have wrongly thought that they went there for a spiritual retreat. They didn’t realize that it was the most crucial night of the Son of God. His agony will start to be unfolded that night and will culminate to his torturous death at the cross –a kind of death deserved only for heinous criminals. Before His betrayer came with the temple guards to arrest Him at the garden, He spent the remaining hours in hard prayer. Now let us look at the prayer of Jesus. What was His prayer request?
b) In verse 39 of Matthew 26 He prayed: “Father, if it is, let this cup pass from me, yet not my will but thine be done.”
c) In this prayer, Christ seemed to indicate that He was afraid to suffer; that he lost his courage to face the cross. But fear is not the reason of this request. Being perfectly human, he felt the magnitude of the agony He would suffer soon; that it is beyond any human being can bear. But he was not afraid.
d) In contrary, in this short prayer, Jesus affirmed His obedience to the divine will and authority of the Father; he declared His total submission and willingness to do His Father’s will.
e) But I believe, in this excruciating hour of Jesus, He wanted to hear some words from His Father, but there was none. There was total silence instead.
f) Why? Why didn’t the Father grant the request of His divine Son? Why did God the Father remain silent on the request of Christ? Why would the Heavenly Father allow His Only Begotten Son –His Beloved Son –to go through the untold suffering of crucifixion?
g) This question can never be answered, outside the context, or without the light, of God’s infinite wisdom.
h) But where is wisdom here? Can we find wisdom in the silence of God?
i) Yes. If God the Father did spare His Son, there would be no salvation to all of us who are lost in sin!
j) At the age of 5, I underwent 16 days treatment of rabies infection. Every time the doctor had to inject the syringe, I was excruciating with pain. I wailed and called my father, but I got no response. I thought why Papa had let me suffer this. Because He knew that behind my agony is the cure.
k) There’s no remedy for sin except the blood of Christ.
l) So Paul said: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to the world, but to us wisdom of God unto salvation.”
m) When God is silent or answers no to our prayer, it’s not an occasion to cast doubt on His love, but an occasion to see His infinite wisdom. Because He knows everything, we can be sure that He knows and gives what’s best for us. Even His silence is for our ultimate good.
II. SECOND EXAMPLE: LAZARUS –the Friend of Jesus(John 11:1-23)
a) In John chapter 11, a man named Lazarus was sick. His sisters, Mary and Martha, sent someone to Jesus to tell Him that His friend Lazarus was in serious ailment. Unexpectedly, without a message to Lazarus’ sisters, Jesus stayed in the place where he was for two days.
b) If we didn’t have the succeeding verses telling us what happened next, we would be posing big questions to God why such delay. The situation calls for urgent response, but he stayed for two more days without a word to His friends who were writhing in pain.
c) But as the narrative goes on, Jesus said: “It is for your sake that I was not there, so that you will believe.”
d) Lazarus died that day they sent a messenger to Jesus to inform his condition. The distance from Bethany to Perea was a one-day walk. Having stayed two days where he was, plus one-day journey of the messenger, plus one-day journey from Perea to Bethany, that makes four days. So Lazarus has been dead and in the grave four days according to Hebrew reckoning.