“Great souls find peace in the silence; small souls seek to be distracted by chatter and anesthetized by noise.” -David Augsburger
Many times when we feel that our prayers aren’t being answered, no matter how hard and consistently we pray, we begin to feel neglected, abandoned and our trust begins to fade. However, when it comes to strong relationships that require trust, it is the silence and the uncertainty that can actually build trust when the silence is understood.
For instance. During the times that my husband was deployed I had a constant fear of him never coming home. That fear of not knowing very quickly turned to anger and then to rage. He tried hard at first to console me with the saying “No news is good news.” Meaning, as long as the dreaded officer didn’t come knocking on my door, he was alive and fine. Well, I wasn’t so good at the silences. I spent the entire time worrying, hiding from unexpected knocks on the door, counting down the minutes until midnight. That worry pent up inside me was like a pressure cooker just waiting to blow. To the point where the times that he regularly called were no longer pleasant conversations because I knew our time was short and I would very soon be cast back into the state of worry. It angered me that I was placed in this constant state of worry and the one person I relied on to take that worry away was the one causing it. (Or rather his job was.)
I didn’t have a relationship with God back then and so I can only realize how enormous my mistake was now looking back. That’s not to say that I don’t have times of immense worry and fear today, I do! However, I have been learning a very valuable lesson over the past few months. I began to learn and to realize what is happening in the silence.
When I place my trust in God and when I cultivate a relationship with Christ I have started to understand that the reasoning to why God doesn’t answer my prayers isn’t because I am doing something wrong or because someone else is doing something wrong. It’s because God is using this time of silence to allow me some peace. Peace that can only be found with trusting Him.
When we pray to God, many times our prayers are filled with wants and rationalized needs. Yes, there may be things we pray for that we know align with God’s desires and with his Commands, but we forget that He ultimately wants us to trust Him. To trust that He will see His wishes carried out in one way or another and in the mean time, we simply have to trust.
Trust that even though He is silent He has heard our prayers! He sacrificed greatly in order for us to be able to speak to him directly. He’s not about to ignore us after paying that price! And even when we ourselves don’t know the words to say, Christ intercedes for us. He helps us. Like when a toddler is still learning to speak clearly and the friend or stranger doesn’t quite understand what they’re saying, the parent will translate because they understand their child better. They are around them more and they know their personality and their interests. They can anticipate their child’s needs before anyone else.
God knows our needs. Sometimes what we need is silence. To reconnect with our Father and to spend that time growing and being shaped into someone stronger and more resilient. To be reminded of what he purposed us for and to realign our priorities and to strengthen our understanding.
There are times in the silence that I feel immense heartache, like none I have ever felt before. It physically hurts! However, I noticed it doesn’t last as long anymore because I believe He is silently shaping me and strengthening me. I don’t know how, or what exactly I am becoming, but I have been able to find growing peace and joy. I am beginning to enjoy being around myself more. I recognize the person in the mirror again. The house is filled with more laughter and love and I am connecting again with friends that I have neglected over the years.
Spending quiet time with God has been an unexpected grace. My unanswered prayers aren’t a primary focus anymore. The times when I feel my thoughts start to slip into my old ways of thinking and feeling, I remember what I am now. I am love. As a woman I was created to be love and so it makes it that much easier to remember and to feel. But whether you are male or female, you are love! Love breathed to life. Love that is meant to be shared. Love that is desired. Love that is meant to be cultivated. Love that is meant to bind to a spouse. Love that is meant to teach. Love that is purposed for the glory of God! There are so many different kinds of love and we are made to be all of them.
Love is also silent at times. It’s not always grande gestures. It’s not always taken by the hand and led. It’s not always spoken. There is a time for everything and everything has it’s time. Right now may just be the time for unanswered prayers. He will answer them, when the time is right.
* There are several readers that have reached out and have asked for prayers during their “silences.” I wanted to share this to let you know that I understand how it feels to struggle and to feel like everything you’re trying just isn’t working. I pray for you daily. Not just that your prayers may be answered or that your circumstances will better…but also that you find peace and growth in the silence. That you understand that you’re not necessarily “doing it wrong,” but that perhaps you’re doing something right and God doesn’t want to interrupt that. Not yet.
Tags: change, Choices, God, Good, Growth, Patience, peace, Silence, Trust, Unanswered Prayers
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