The confusion surrounding an unanswered prayer is a deeply uncomfortable ache felt by all Christians, at one point or another.
When it seems as though God is silent, it’s easy to believe we’ve done something wrong, or we are talking to a far-away God, too distant from our troubles to get involved.
When burdens are heavy, we are more prone to despair. Lay those burdens down here for a moment and soak up some encouragement, knowing you are not the first, and you are not alone.
1. God hasn’t forgotten about you.
This is the easiest and most immediate lie to believe when we begin to feel a sense of hopelessness. And it’s a dangerous lie, because it’s one we can justify. All of us have been let down by someone we placed our hope in, and the memory of pain rushes towards us at the slightest hint of disappointment. But God is not like us humans.
The truth is found in the fact that God has promised “never to leave or forsake” us (Deuteronomy 31:6), and He isn’t a God who goes back on his promises.
2. You aren’t outside of His gaze.
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You may have been neglected or pushed aside in the past. Regardless of the way you were mistreated, unloved, taken for granted or wounded, there is a God who saw the injustice and felt the depth of your broken heart.
The question of why a loving God would allow so much pain in a broken world is a lament centuries old. We will probably never know or understand why certain things happened the way they did, but one thing we do know with certainty is this: we were never hidden from God.
3. Doubting does not make you a bad Christian.
One of the greatest theologians of all time, C.S. Lewis, became a Christian in the process of trying to disprove the existence of God.
While some would say that harboring doubt is evidence of a shallow faith, the Bible tells us the exact opposite. When Jesus appeared to the disciples, He did so in the presence of Thomas, one who refused to believe the rumors of Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus, rather than publicly condemning Thomas, or scolding him for not accepting the story as truth, instead invited Thomas to touch the places he had been wounded as proof.
While some would say that harboring doubt is evidence of a shallow faith, the Bible tells us the exact opposite.
God is not intimidated by our questions; he has an infinite measure of peace to pour over us when we come to him, heart heavy with concerns. He only asks that we bring our burdens to him, rather than carry them alone.
4. There is something for you to learn, right now.
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Reminding yourself of the meaning and lessons to come is a way of hoping through the present pain. However, if we open our eyes to the possibility that God has something for us to learn in the valley, we can enter into the next season with deeper knowledge of his provision.
It’s no coincidence that we often grow the most during a time of struggle. Loss and pain have a way of waking us up to what is actually important.
Rather than postpone your growth, begin searching for present grace. God promises to give it.
5. What comes next will be better than what came before.
The best clichés are often clichés for a reason. Looking backward doesn’t always offer a healthy perspective; but just for a moment, look back.
You have been through hard seasons before, and you emerged on the other side swinging. You can do hard things.
God promises to take us from glory to glory, but that doesn’t mean we won’t walk through dry places. His words that he will never leave or forsake us are meant to be the true north of our internal compass; no matter what situation we’re in, he is with us.
And when you get where you’re going, there is a very good chance that the sweetness will overwhelm any pain, to the point that you may forget to speak about it entirely.
He hasn’t forgotten about you.
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