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As believers, we are called to pray. But what happens when it feels like our prayers have fallen on deaf ears? What does it mean if we don’t hear from God? And how should we respond?
In high school, I experienced my first battle with anxiety attacks. I didn’t understand what was happening or why it was happening — all I knew was that I was not in control and I desperately needed God’s help.
So I began to pray, no, beg, for deliverance. I remember staring at the floor of our church sanctuary as I cried out to my Savior on my knees: God I need you. I give my life to you. Please answer me. Please take all of this away.
Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into a full year. And still, nothing but silence.
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I felt like a shipwrecked soul, sinking in a sea of confusion, sadness, anger and bitterness.
And that’s when I found Psalm 13.
As one of David’s shorter psalms, you might miss it if you were flipping through your Bible, but in those days, and even still today, I can’t take my eyes from it. David writes:
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
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3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
Never has a passage of Scripture comforted and convicted me more than Psalm 13. I was comforted, because I knew I was not alone in my despair. My cries of desperation mirrored every single word in verses 1-4. On the other hand, my heart was deeply convicted. Because in the silence that followed my desperate pleas, unlike David, I had failed to trust God.
THE SILENT INVITATION
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Prayer is a conversation, and like most conversations in today’s day and age, responses are appreciated. Think about the last time you asked your girlfriend if she wanted to go to lunch. Did she wait five months to get back to you? Probably not!
Whether it’s a text, email, or Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Voxer message, we live in a culture that expects an answer — and fast.
But when we look at the Bible, we see that God’s answers often don’t come quickly at all. Instead, prayers and dreams are first met with silence.
I think about Joseph, and the dreams God gave him when he was just 17. The visions filled Joseph with great hope and joy, but not long after he received them, he wound up being sold into slavery, and let’s not forget … prison!
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But the story doesn’t end there. Because all the while, we see that the Lord was with Joseph (Genesis 39:2). Even in the darkness of a prison cell, the Lord was with him, showing him kindness and granting him favor in the eyes of the warden (Genesis 39:20).
In the silence, Joseph and David trusted God, and we have a similar choice to make today.
Not hearing from God doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us or has given up on us. His Word tells us He will never leave us nor forsake us — that He loves us with an everlasting love. So what if, instead of giving in to confusion, sadness, anger and bitterness, we chose to trust instead?
Silence is God’s invitation to trust and know that He is with us.
In the silence, we can turn away, or we can press into God. That doesn’t mean we will always like the silence. But in my experience, I believe we can grow to appreciate it, and in it we can grow closer to the One who is always at work — even when we don’t see or hear from Him.
Pray with me: Father God, I long to hear from you today. I am desperate for your touch. My soul yearns for you and daily my eyes seek your face. I don’t know why you are being silent, but I know you hear me and I know you will not leave my prayers unanswered. Help me trust in you and your perfect timing. Help me press into your presence and protect me from the confusion, sadness, anger and bitterness that comes up against me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the Finding Joy podcast and Finding Joy Ladies Night Out. She writes at LaurenGaskillinspires.com andis in the process of publishing her first non-fiction inspirational book. Diagnosed with an incurable genetic disorder (Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), Lauren is passionate about encouraging others to fight for faith and keep hope alive — no matter what.