Q. To follow up your blog on Proverbs and the days of evil, why do you think God answers our prayers with silence? Why would He do that, especially when we’re suffering and so desperate for answers?
A. Thanks for letting me clarify. I disagree with the premise that God answers those prayers with silence. On the contrary, I think He always answers those prayers loudly and clearly.
First, God answers those prayers by revealing His good character and awesome power.
As a Christian, you do not pray to a blank slate or to an “Unknown God.” You pray to the loving Father of Jesus Christ, who created the universe and everything in it. You pray to the God Who loves you and sent Jesus to die on the cross for you so that you could live with Him forever. In other words, Scripture reveals God’s good and benevolent character. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Ps 107:1). Do you realize those truths about God’s good character are an answer to your prayers? You’re asking, “Why is this happening?” And by revealing His goodness, God is answering, “You can trust Me.”
Second, God answers your prayers by giving you principles for going through trials. That includes a general reason for all adversity: “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” James wrote, not because God gives you specific details, but because “the testing of your faith produces patience” (Jas 1:2-3). It also includes principles for handling those trials (“Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” Jas 1:19 NASB). I believe that Proverbs and James are especially useful here. So is reading about David’s life under Saul and Paul’s tumultuous ministry in Acts.
So, does God answer your prayers with complete silence?
Yes, God might be silent in the sense that He will not give you the specific reason for your suffering. But don’t forget that God also reveals in Scripture both His goodness and the principles for enduring trials. Those might not be the answers to prayer that you want, but they’re the ones you need.