Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sitting on an Ant Nest?

This weekend, my two-year-old was playing on a decayed stump. Although he’s been warned several times that this is a “no no” because of the colony of ants that lives beneath the ground, since he can’t easily see the ants, he forgets. Sure enough, after a few minutes of stomping on the stump, he was coated in swarming black dots and yelling for help. The big problem? He sat down on the ant-covered stump to yell for help.

After hastily peeling off the infested clothes, a dose of Benadryl, a dab of Campho-Phenique on each bite, some tear-wiping, and lots of cuddles, I tried to explain how he needed to run from the ants and then call for me. As his mom, I instinctively know it’s only a matter of time before he will be back dancing on the stump again and, once again, needing some “help!”

This incident made me think of the many times I have complained “God’s not listening to me! He doesn’t answer my prayers for help, for deliverance from ______ problem.” In these periods of darkness, it seems as if my prayers are being stamped “Return to Sender.” Yet, Scripture says when God remains silent, there is a reason.

First, sometimes God remains silent because He is asking us to wait or to trust Him by faith that He is working behind the scenes even when we see and hear nothing from Him. The prophet Habakkuk begged the Lord to help Israel: “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ Yet You do not save.” God responded, “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days--You would not believe if you were told” (Habakkuk 1:2, 5). God is working to help us, and the plan He’s crafting may knock our socks off.

Secondly, God may be silent because there are important events of eternal importance taking place in the heavenlies. When Daniel is terrified by a vision he doesn’t understand, he waits 21 days before the angel Gabriel finally shows up and helps, saying “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to give you an understanding…" (Daniel 10:12-14, my italics). God heard Daniel’s heart immediately, but His vehicle for imparting help was detained by Satan. Sometimes, it helps to think that maybe I’m being called upon to wait upon God in faith because of something magnificent going on in the heavenlies.

While these kinds of divine silence do not mean that God has not heard our prayers, there can be a reason for His silence wherein He does not hear us. David tells us of his prayers, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;” (Psalm 66:18, NIV). Isaiah 59:1-2 further reads, “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” God even refused several times to hear Israel’s prayers: “Then they will cry out to the LORD, But He will not answer them. Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time Because they have practiced evil deeds” (Micah 3:4). In essence, if we cherish and practice sin in our lives, God will not hear our prayers.

This week, if you feel like you’re continuing to call upon the Lord but are getting no answer, take a hard, honest look at your life to see if there is anything hindering your prayers from reaching the Father’s throne. Look around you. Is God merely telling you to trust Him and wait in faith? Could He have already sent an answer, but it’s en route? Or are you asking for help while sitting on an ant nest of cherished sin?


  1. Just what I needed to hear this morning...thank you :)

  2. Makes me think of the words "...the silence doesn't mean that I'm alone, as long as I can hear that I am still your own!" (From Vicki Yohe's "In the Waiting"---I still love that song.)