I have three children–all under five years old. One aspect of growing up is learning the social skills needed to get by. One such skill that my wife and I are trying to teach our eldest is that it is rude not to reply when someone is speaking to you. Our daughter hears us, but, for some reason, doesn’t always reply or even acknowledge the conversation. I get so frustrated with her when she doesn’t speak to me!
I also tend to get frustrated when I feel like God does the same thing! There are times I find myself asking God questions or praying to Him for a specific request, and I feel like I’m talking to a wall! I have learned over the years that God typically answers in three ways: Yes, No, Wait. Why can’t God give me a burning bush like He did Moses, or a dream like He did with Jacob, or–better yet–an angel like He did with Mary?
What do I do when I feel like there is no answer at all, when I feel like God hasn’t even acknowledged me?
In my own life, this is where my faith must come into play BIG TIME! I need to remember all the times that God has answered me. I have to believe that He does hear me even if I don’t always feel like He responds. 1 John 5:14 (ESV) says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.”
This verse makes me ask myself some questions when it comes to hearing God’s voice, and maybe you need to ask yourself these questions, also.
Is what I am asking for “according to His will?”
I have to ask myself if what I am asking for is something that is self-focused or God-focused. So many times, I pray to God out of my selfishness. “I want this, I want that, God why are You not doing things MY way, etc.” Am I not hearing God because what I want to hear is not being said?
Am I listening?
Am I really listening for His response, or am I in too much of a hurry? Have I really given God the “time of day” to speak into my life? I think sometimes I don’t hear what God is saying to me simply because I am too impatient for a response. Do I already know what His answer is, or would be, so I’m not listening all that closely for deniability?
Has God already spoken to me?
We see so many times in the Bible that God speaks to His people, but they refuse to listen. God sends them prophets, kings, common folk, and even a donkey, yet they still don’t listen. I need to ask myself, has God already spoken to me through those who are closest to me, people whose counsel I trust? Has He given me the answer through repeated moments in my day, but I just haven’t heard it? How can the sermon from the preacher, the song on the radio, a conversation with my wife, and scripture from my daily reading all line up? Has God spoken to me, but I’m not listening?
Does He have to answer?
There is something to say about familiarity when it comes to our relationship with God. When my family goes out to eat, with a high level of certainty I can tell you what each person will order to drink, and, depending on the restaurant, what they will eat. I believe the same intimacy happens with God. When we are intentional about our relationship with God, we can become familiar with Him. As we read though the Bible, we see how He loves and treats those who are in relationship with Him. Spending time in prayer, scripture reading, and quiet time listening, I believe we become more intimate with Him. It is through this intimacy that we are able to know His answer even before we ask Him!
It is not the easiest, but when you feel like God is not speaking to you, ask yourself these questions. It may even be in the process of asking yourself these questions that you will hear your answer!
“Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.” – Isaiah 28:23
“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ weather to the right or to the left.” – Isaiah 30:21