One of the most troubling things a believer faces during trials of the soul or circumstance, is the sense that all their prayers, petitions and cries aren’t making it past the roof. We know that this experience is one that is universal for all believers throughout all the ages. This can be an incredible burden on the soul, and I think this is one of the most revealing ways which God uses to show the genuineness of our faith.
It is easy to praise God when the answer to our prayer comes swiftly. But what about when He tarries? What about when the circumstances grow darker, rather than lighter? What about when prayer seem useless? What about when heaven seems silent? I believe this is where true faith shines, and where the real genuineness of one’s devotion to Christ and His Word is proven.
We see all throughout the Psalms these sort of cries from God’s saints. These are the songs that saints throughout the ages have sung, because they touch on the very real emotion that we all have felt at some point: “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” (Psa 13:1). One Psalm in particular gives a precious reminder to the saint walking through the dark valley of trial: Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me (Psa 86:6-7).
Notice that the day of trouble doesn’t quell David’s faith, it strengthens it. The fact that trouble has come, and help seems far off, doesn’t lead David to throw in the towel. Rather it spurs him onward to confess with all his might (feeble though it may feel): “Thou wilt answer me!”
As saints of God, we must walk with the assurance that God will answer the prayers of His saints. We must sow in tears…He has promised that He will bring unto us a harvest of joy (Ps 126). It is by sowing in faith, that we reap in sight. Furthermore, we must anchor our faith in God’s good and sovereign providence; knowing that all that we meet with shall work for our good. Thus, the trial, and the seemingly unanswered prayers are not accidental.
Only Christianity can make sense out of all the chaos of this fallen world, for we alone can grip the truth that “God is doing something!” He will answer our prayers, and often His answer is that through these circumstances I am being conformed more fully into His likeness. He tarries so that my hope and joy abides in Him alone, rather than the gift or the answer He might give. Our prayers, mingled with faith, are certain to produce joy in Christ. The problem arises when we shrink into doubt and spurn our Heavenly Father; thus showing what nature we are of. For those who are born again, and called by Christ’s name, not even deaths valley is too dark for their faith to shine in grateful praise unto God’s goodness. And they shall sing above the tumult of tribulation: “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence (Ps. 50:3a).”