Why God Doesn't Always Answer - This can be a deeply disheartening and confusing experience, leading us to question the very nature of our relationship with God
by M. Karshna
In our journey of faith, we often find ourselves seeking divine guidance, comfort, and answers to our heartfelt prayers. At times, however, it may seem as if God is silent and our prayers go unanswered. This can be a deeply disheartening and confusing experience, leading us to question the very nature of our relationship with God (see our blog post about “When God Changes Your Plans” for more similar content). But rest assured, even in the moments of silence, there are valuable lessons to be learned and reasons why God may choose not to answer immediately. It is not because He doesn’t hear, but rather because there is an entire spiritual network of factors moving like a machine to see us through when all things are ready. The prophet Daniel from the Hebrew scriptures is a great example of this—Daniel is never rebuked by God for ever failing, and even he did not get answers right away.
Dear God, in times of uncertainty and unanswered prayers, grant us the wisdom and patience to understand Your ways. Help us trust that Your silence does not signify abandonment but rather an opportunity for growth and deeper faith. Amen.
Three things to remember when you don't hear an answer right away:
Divine Timing of Events: God's perspective transcends our limited human understanding of time. While we desire immediate answers, God's plan unfolds according to His perfect timing. His delay in responding to our prayers may be a result of orchestrating circumstances or preparing us to receive His blessings in the most impactful way. King Darius of the Persian empire had thrown the prophet Daniel into the lion’s den for Daniel’s violation of prayer laws. And Daniel never stopped praying. The next morning, Darius found Daniel alive and untouched by the lions and praised Daniel’s God for His protection of Daniel’s faithfulness. Daniel 6:25-27: “Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations, and speakers of every language who were living in all the land: “May peace abound to you! I issue a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to [reverently] fear and tremble before the God of Daniel, For He is the living God, enduring and steadfast forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever. He rescues and saves and performs signs and wonders In heaven and on earth—He who has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions”” (AMP). Patience becomes our ally as we trust in His divine timing, and because of Daniel’s patience on God’s divine timing of events.
Lessons in Faith: In the silence of unanswered prayers, God often invites us to exercise and strengthen our faith. It is during these times that our reliance on Him deepens, as we learn to surrender our desires and expectations to His will. God's silence challenges us to grow in faith, allowing us to develop resilience and a more profound trust in His ultimate wisdom. It certainly did with Daniel; after Daniel was thrown into the den of lions, the scriptures tell us in Daniel 6:17 that: “A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed concerning Daniel” (AMP). There was no place for Daniel to turn and no way for him to change his circumstance; the scriptures imply, however, that Daniel never stopped praying, and that faith closed the mouth of the lions.
Spiritual Growth: God is not solely concerned with fulfilling our immediate wishes; rather, He is deeply invested in our spiritual growth and character development. Sometimes, He withholds an answer to teach us valuable lessons or refine our hearts. In these moments, we have an opportunity to cultivate qualities such as patience, humility, and perseverance, which ultimately contribute to our overall spiritual maturity. At the end of Daniel chapter 6, it says in verse 28 that: “…this [man] Daniel prospered and enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (AMP). This event in Daniel’s life was used by God to set him up for success as one of the most influential and spiritually powerful people in Darius’s and Cyrus’s Persia.
While it can be challenging to comprehend why God doesn't always answer our prayers, we can find comfort in knowing that His silence does not equate to indifference or abandonment. Through His silence, God invites us to seek deeper understanding, trust in His divine timing, and grow in faith. Our journey of faith is not just about receiving immediate answers but also about developing a relationship with the Creator that transcends our limited human desires. As we embrace the lessons learned in His silence, we draw closer to Him and experience a transformation that shapes us into the individuals He created us to be. He doesn’t just want to do this for Daniel; He wants to do it for all of His children.
Heavenly Father, grant us the strength to embrace the lessons hidden within Your silence. Help us find solace and purpose in the midst of unanswered prayers, knowing that Your ways are higher than our ways. May our faith be strengthened and our hearts molded according to Your divine plan. Amen.
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Matthew Karshna is a contributor for A Warrior’s Mission and a partner with the ACCBF.
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