3 March 2011 (Chamashee/Teruah)|
Day #352, 5934 AM
The Right Response
I am quite sure that you, like me, have unanswered prayers. And I don't just mean prayers about comparitively little things but prayers about life-and-death issues. Sometimes heaven is silent. Why? And what should our proper response be?
In Psalm 13 King David wrestles with the problem of unanswered prayer. He questioned why the world was so dangerous and pleaded for answers from Yahweh:
I have been crying and praying for many years over a lost son and have received no answers other than a vision given soon after losing him showing him returning home when he was older. I guess I was not satisfied with the original answer I got. It is hard when the fate of individuals we love is closely tied into that of others who have ungodly power and influence that they 'shouldn't'. Free agency is a tough one, especially when it influences someone else's, and we often complain about it. I know I do.
"How long, O Yahweh? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Yahweh my Elohim (God); enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, 'I have prevailed against him'; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved" (Ps.13:1-4, NKJV).
And then yesterday morning I was given a dream about the boy's mother. She had returned the boy home but was herself unsettled. She kept going into the city again and again in search of something intangible that she could neither grasp nor seem to find. Without even asking Him for an explanation, as I was sitting down at my desk later contemplating the dream, I heard Yahweh speak to me and say: "She is spiritually starving".
It is a hard psalm that David sang - it was a psalm of great frustration. All he got in answer was a deafening silence. And yet, in the end, his doubts and fears were turned into trust. Why? How? Because the circumstances of our struggles cannot alter or diminish the character of Yahweh and His care for us. In the next verse in our passage, David had turned an important corner. Deep from within his heart he prayed:
I too can confess that He has dealt bountifully with me even though He has not always answered prayers of desperation and even though He has been forced to clip my wings a bit to prevent me from overstepping the bounds of Torah propriety in my efforts to 'speed Him up' by taking matters into my own hands. We do not control our destiny nor the destinies of others. Yahweh has made sure of that. And if we try to, He will simply either block our way (if we have given Him prior permission to do so...I have asked Him to do what is necessary in my life to to see me through it in righteousess) or let us go the way of the Prodigal Son and hit rock bottom by coming to the end of ourselves so that we will eventually be forced turn around (repent) and come home, or utterly perish.
"But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to Yahweh, because He has dealt bountifully with me" (Ps.13:5-6, NKJV).
In the pain and struggle of living without answers, sometimes to great tragedy when we feel we need answers urgently just to survive them, or because we feel we absolutely 'have' to do something rapidly and tangibly to not drown in guilt for apparent 'inactivity' or 'lack of care', we can always find comfort in our Heavenly Father. He's simply waiting for us to change direction - the untrusting, questioning, impatient, demanding, impertinent attitude of our mind and heart to do it our own way - and come home in humility and surrender. Then, as David discovered, things begin to 'come together'... perhaps not in the way we wanted or expected, but certainly in the way that is best for us - His way.
Bill Crowther, How Long? in Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI: May 30, 2007