Yesterday, Cincinnati city leaders admitted to an emergency response failure in the recent death of Kyle Plush. Pinned by a seat in his minivan while reaching for his tennis gear, the 16-year old called 911 twice but tragically suffocated to death waiting for police to rescue him. Officers couldn’t find him in time since they lacked key information from the 911 calls.
Spiritually, some people feel like Kyle Plush. Trapped in suffering and despair, they desperately call on God for deliverance. Yet He does nothing.
Do you ever feel this way?
David did. Often. Following are some examples of his spiritual 911 calls to God.
- “Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!” (Psalm 38:22).
- “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1).
- “Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help” (Psalm 22:11).
- “To You, O Lord, I call; my rock, do not be deaf to me, for if You are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit” (Psalm 28:1).
Where was God? Why did He let David suffer repeatedly? Why does He let us?
The answer is simple. The following four truths about prayer and suffering will help us to trust in God when He is silent.
1) God answers in His time.
He experiences time differently than we do (2 Peter 3:8). Be patient and wait for His timing. Maybe God’s answer to your prayer is simply, “Not yet.”
2) God answers in His way.
His thoughts and His ways are infinitely higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Therefore, His solutions to our problems may not even enter our minds. Trust in His solutions, not your own.
3) God answers according to His will.
Sometimes our will is diametrically opposed to His. Suffering has a purpose in God’s plan (James 1:2-4; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). His desire isn’t to eliminate all pain on earth. Ask for deliverance, but pray His will be done, and submit to it.
4) God answers His faithful children.
Though David felt abandoned by God on many occasions, in reality, he never was. God always came to his rescue because he lived righteously (Psalm 34:15-22). This holds true for us as well.
Next time you make spiritual 911 calls that God seems to ignore, trust that He knows right where you are and, if you are His faithful child, He will eventually deliver you in one way or another, as He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Do you ever feel like God is ignoring your prayers? Do the points above help you to make sense of God’s silence? I’d love to hear your thoughts.