The Great I Am:
Jehovah Ezer – The Lord Is My HELP
“God doesn’t owe us anything- yet in His grace, He still gives us good things.”
– Billy Graham
What Happens When God Is Silent?
We all have things we ask from God; we ask about family matters, work, and school. There are also times we ask the Lord to deal with us regarding personal dealings and issues only He truly knows about.
Do you have unanswered prayers? Have you been praying for it for a week? A month? How about more than a year? We desperately come to Him on our knees in prayer but there are times when we feel like our prayers are not being answered.
During moments of waiting, sometimes we become inclined to thinking that he is taking too long or perhaps asking if He is really there, if He can hear our prayers, if He still cares.
However, it is during these moments of doubt that He reminds us to fix our eyes upon Him and journey in faith.
22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
Here we see a father wanting desperately to save his son. He came to Jesus for help but before Jesus helped his son, Jesus first used this situation to strengthen the faith of the father. Thus we are reminded that in whatever circumstance we may face, what happens inside of us is more important than what happens to and around us.
Now let us look at the life of a man named Lazarus during a period of time when he and his family desperately needed Jesus’ help.
The Death of Lazarus
1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,
Jesus chose to stay where he was for two more days even after hearing that Lazarus was sick. In addition, what is interesting to note is that in these verses, the messengers do not mention Lazarus’ name. Instead, they tell Jesus “Lord, the one you love is sick.” In this situation, we can all identify with Lazarus; during the times we desperately need Him to answer our prayers, we feel that He is taking too long to do so.
20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
When God doesn’t answer our prayers, we get angry and distance ourselves from Him. When Martha and Mary saw Jesus, they said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” In our own lives, perhaps we have reacted in the same way, especially when we do not hear any answers from Him.
However, we know that God provides during situations that seem impossible to overcome.
Let us read the prayer of Jesus:
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Jesus knew that His prayers were heard even before receiving the answer.
By the end of this passage, not only were the prayers of Martha and Mary answered; they were also given something better – the opportunity to witness the miracle of raising someone that was dead back to life.
In our times of waiting, let us not react with anger or get tired in asking the Lord. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus witnessed a great miracle that day. Remembering this, let us wait in faith, knowing that He will answer our prayers – perhaps in a way that we ourselves do not expect but remembering that His ways our higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts.
Maybe what needs to change are not the things that are happening around us; rather, it is we ourselves that need to be changed. Knowing this, we can delight during times of waiting and believe that He will provide.
In this clip for the movie “Evan Almighty,” Evan’s (Noah) wife had trouble understanding faith and prayer. Later on, God, disguised as a waiter, approaches her and tells her what happens during times of waiting:
“Prayer may not change things for you, but it for sure changes you for things.”
~Samuel M. Shoemaker