When God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers it can be hard. Sometimes, downright awful.
One minute I’m determined to trust God.
In the next, I feel myself slipping. The “why” questions tumble in so hard. My heart hurts. My eyes leak.
Ever been there?
I don’t want to oversimplify what to do in these times. I know from prayer requests I’ve received over the years many of us are facing really tough issues. Situations where the answers aren’t easy or clear cut.
But I have discovered a few things that help me when God seems silent …
* Press in to God when you want to pull away.
When I really want to hear from God but He seems silent, I sometimes find I want to disengage from my normal spiritual activities. Skip church. Put my Bible on my shelf. And let more and more time lapse between prayers.
But our key verse, Psalm 61:2, reminds us that the best thing we can do when our hearts are growing faint is to call out to God, not pull away from Him: “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
The Bible also promises we will find God if we seek Him with all our heart. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (NIV). All my heart includes the parts that are broken. Bring it all to God.
He can handle your honesty and will respond. But we have to position ourselves to go where truth is. Go to church. Listen to praise music. Read verses. Memorize verses. And keep talking to God.
* Praise God out loud when you want to get lost in complaints.
In the midst of what you’re facing, find simple things for which to praise God. I don’t mean thank Him for the hard stuff. I mean thank Him for the other simple, good things still in the midst. A child’s laugh. A bush that blooms. The warmth of a blanket. The gift of this breath and then the next.
Psalm 40:3 reminds me God will give me a new song when I make praise the habit of my heart and mouth: “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him” (NIV).
* Put yourself in the company of truth.
That friend who speaks truth? Listen to her. Stay connected to her. Let her speak truth into your life, even when you’re tired of hearing it. Stand in the shadow of her faith when you feel your own faith is weak. Let her lead you back to God time and time again. Proverbs 12:26a reminds us: “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor …” (ESV).
It’s okay to feel hurt and confused. Our God is big enough to handle our honest feelings. But don’t let your feelings lead you away from God or away from His truth. Press into Him. Praise Him. And put yourself in the company of truth.
As you stay with God in these ways, you’ll become ready to receive His answer when it comes.
Dear Lord, thank You for hearing every “why” my heart sends up to You. Forgive me when I retreat from You and Your Word. I want to trust You more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.