Sunday, July 12, 2015

What Do You Do When Heaven Doesn't Answer

“I called him but he did not answer.” (Song of Songs 5:6)

Have you ever faced this dilemma? Confronted with great need you pray in faith, trusting in the Lord and standing on His Word. Your heart is not haughty, nor are your prayers self-serving.

As you bow your head you are holding tightly to the many promises of Jesus --  

  • “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mat. 18:18) 
  • "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Mat. 21:22) 
  • “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mar. 11:23) 
  • “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”(Joh.14:13) 
  • “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” (Joh.16:23) 

And so you ask, believing with all your heart that your prayer will be answered, and you wait upon the Lord. And you wait. And you wait.

But there is no answer. Silence from Heaven, even as your body screams in pain on earth.

And so I ask once more -- Have you ever faced this dilemma? If so, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. This dark tunnel has been traveled by godly saints down through the ages -- and God always came through for them at the right time. And He will come through for you.

Jeremiah faced this dilemma. He writes "When I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer" (Lam.3:8). And later he says it again, "You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through" (Lam 3:44).

What makes you think it would be any different for you and I? Are we better than Jeremiah?

Or how about godly Daniel? Daniel prayed in need of an immediate answer, but his answer did not come for twenty days. The Bible tells us that an angel appeared to Daniel with this message, “Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” (Dan 10:12,13).

Evidently a great battle was being fought in the heavens to prevent Daniel’s answer from getting through. 

And of course there is Job, suffering in unimaginable ways. He prays to God, and finds only silence. “Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.” (Job 19:7) 

Or how about King David, a man after God’s own heart? He writes, “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” (Psalms 22:2) 

So, what’s the deal here?

James tells us that “the trying of your faith worketh patience.” One translation puts it this way, “such testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:3). The Message says, “You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.”
Obviously our faith must be tried, tested. How better to do that than with silence and delay from Heaven?

"Christ sometimes delays His help so He may test our faith and energize our prayers. Our boat may be tossed by the waves while He continues to sleep, but He will awake before it sinks. He sleeps but He never oversleeps, for He is never too late." (Alexander Maclaren)

"No prayer is ever lost, or any prayer ever breathed in vain. There is no such thing as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and some things we see as refusals or denials are simply delays." (Horatius Bonar)

You may confess and claim whatever you want, but you will not escape this season of silence. It will test you as you have never been tested, and rock you to the very core of your soul. Charismatic bliss fades in the face of this one substantial storm. Yet, your faith nevertheless prevails – if it is indeed genuine.

I am writing to you in the midst of one such storm. I am tossed about and torn to bits, but God’s Word is true – and He is faithful. These are not placid theories I post as a muse sitting in a cushioned tent. I am writing from the front lines of real battle, on scraps of debris strewn about my personal battlefield by bomb blasts, using my blood as ink. I do so hope this message reaches you – for it will help you in the day of your battle.

One old scholar wrote, "God does not want us to be like greenhouse plants, which are sheltered from rough weather, but like storm-beaten oaks; not like sand dunes that are driven back and forth by every gust of wind but like granite mountains that withstand the fiercest storms. Yet to accomplish this, He must take us into His testing room of suffering. And many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to prove that suffering is indeed God's testing room of faith." (Unknown)

O my friend, Your day of testing will come. Despite all your blusterous confessions of faith, and your hearty rebukes of the devil, and your triumphant claims of health, wealth, and happiness – your time of trial is coming.

My dear friend, please tell me that when that day comes, and all hell breaks loose in your world,; please tell me that you have something more substantial in your arsenal than “Kum-Bah-Yah.”