For this month’s edition of Prayer Corner, Jack will be sharing with us on how to overcome blocks to meeting God.
June ’22: Prayer – When God is Silent
By Jack Y.
My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” —Psalm 42:3
Do you resonate with the above verse? Have you experienced what the psalmist wrestled with, the pain from experiences when God is silent? He does not appear to be answering your prayers or even listening to you?” Those are the times when even our inner thoughts can come to taunt us with questions like – “Where are you God?” “Where is the God that you trusted?” In the last few months, for our Sunday Life Group, we have been going through a book called “Can You Hear Me?” by Brad Jersak. I am gleaning from one of the chapters that he wrote – “Overcoming Blocks to Meeting God.” to share with you all. Blocks are times when we just can’t seem to connect with God. But blocks may not be bad. Everyone, according to Brad Jersak will “eventually run into what we call ‘blocks’ to hearing and meeting with Jesus.” I am hoping the three ideas that the author shared can help us learn how to continue in prayer in those times “When God is Silent.”
The first thing for us to be aware of is “God is never blocked.” When we feel that God is silent or not there, it is not that He is unavailable or absent. I have counselled Christians who cried out and asked where God is in their suffering. It is a difficult place to be walking along them without falling into the trap of being like Job’s friends who accused Job of doing something to offend God so that God is silent. God is never blocked tells us that He is able to come into our struggles but He may choose to wait instead for us to invite Him in. It is not necessarily that we have done anything wrong to keep Him away. But we may not have invited Him or realized that we can invite Him in to help. The key, I believe, is inviting. Many of us, in our desperation, can demand rather than invite God to be our helper.
The second idea is “God leads us to the blocks to uncover things for us.” Often our blocks are “spiritual tumors” that can keep us from getting close to Him. God, in His kindness, will not ignore it. Instead, He leads us directly to it. “And he desires us to play an active role in freeing ourselves from their entanglement [the blocks] so we can grow in faith and maturity during the process.” I personally experienced this years ago after the death of my mother. I felt I was quite distant with God for a few months. Then at one of our services the pastor asked us to bow in silent prayer to seek Him. I asked God what was blocking me from Him? He gave me a vision that immediately resolved the block in my heart. God uncovered a question or doubt I had of the salvation of my mother. Even though I had affirmation from the pastor who led her to God that she was saved, I was still wondering deep down about this. A great burden was lifted from my heart that day that allowed me to reconnect with Him.
The author points out that many times blocks can be overcome with the following basic steps: 1. Ask God to show you what the block is. 2. Ask God where it came from. And 3. Ask God how it can be removed.
There, however, are times when more drastic pruning steps are required for the blocks to be removed so that we can be in better communion with our Lord.
Finally the author reminds us that “There’s always a way into His presence”. As believers in Christ, we will never be locked out. This should help change our attitude. This may in fact be what the psalmist did at the end of Psalm 42,
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.” (Ps 42:11)
Instead of raging at God or walking away in defeat when we don’t seem to hear Him, we can learn to trust God like what the psalmist did – making effort in putting hope and trust in God his Saviour. We, too, can remind ourselves that there is a purpose for the block that God is using to help us grow in our walk with Him. In those times of His silence, may we all learn to surrender to God’s agenda, agree to look at the blocks that are in the way, and finally submit to His pruning shears (when necessary).