Pastor's Pondering


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Why Does God Go Silent?

by Duane Mabee on September 2, 2020

I love to read about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, but have you ever thought of the story from Mary and Martha’s point of view?  You can read the story in John 11. 


I am sure that when Lazarus first got sick, they did all the normal things people would do to help him get better, but nothing worked.  As things grew dire, they turned to Jesus in faith.  They sent word to Him that Lazarus – the one He loved – was sick.  Surely Jesus would know what to do.  Their implied message to Jesus was, “Do something,” but He didn’t.


As time passed, and Jesus didn’t come, they may have consoled themselves thinking, “Everything will be fine.  Jesus will get here in time,” but He didn’t.  Lazarus’ condition deteriorated.  Jesus didn’t come.  Then he died.  Jesus still didn’t come.  They had the funeral.  They buried the body.  Four days later, Jesus still hadn’t shown up. 


What do you think Mary and Martha were thinking during that time?  What do you think Lazarus felt?  The sisters gave away their thoughts when they scolded Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, Lazarus wouldn’t have died!”  The unstated question was, “So, where were You?” 


Many of us know the feelings Mary, Martha and Lazarus felt.  We know what it means to hear no response from God when we need Him.  We know what the question “Why?” feels like.  Why would God go silent right when we need to hear from Him the most?


Jesus tells us.  To His disciples, Jesus said, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe,” (John 11:14-15 ESV).  He told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 ESV). 


Why does God go quiet right when we need to hear from Him the most?  Because He wants us to learn something about Him that we cannot learn any other way.  He wants us to get to know Him better than we have ever known Him before.  He wants us to go deeper in our faith.  The silence will be frustrating, but it is designed to lead us to something better.