Thursday, December 12, 2013

When You Feel God Doesn't Hear, Examine the Ear

There is no greater pain than when we hurt, plead with God for relief, and find heaven remaining quiet. Though it is difficult to comprehend the soul searing ache that comes from watching a loved one die from disease, that ache is far greater when we beg God for mercy during the dying process and find Him seemingly silent. Let's be honest. As Christians, there is no more bitter experience than facing a monumental trial that seems destined to do us in, and when we ask God for relief, He seems deaf to our cries. As adopted children of the King, nothing is scarier or more disconcerting than to believe the Throne Room is locked, keeping Him from hearing us in our time of need.  All of us have been there. There are those days when God seems not to hear.

When that feeling arrives next time, examine the ear. Take a gander at it. Do a little research and discover the delicate intricacies of this amazing human instrument. It takes more faith to believe your ear evolved from amoebas than it does God created it in your mother's womb. God fashioned the human ear, and through it you hear the world around you. The ear is so precise, so beautiful, so profound, so breathtaking that Charles Spurgeon once said (Metropolitan Series, vol. 35, p. 66):
"An aurist who explained to you the mechanism of the ear should make you feel that an undevout aurist is mad."
I agree with Mr. Spurgeon. No man can examine the ear and explain its intricacies and not be a devout believer in God. But more importantly, every Christian who has a working knowledge of the ear should receive tremendous encouragement that God hears our pleas and our prayers on all occasions and at all times. Listen to the Psalmist's words: 
"He who planted the ear, does He not hear?" (Psalm 94:9 NAS).
Great question, is it not? In fact, you can almost hear the irony in the words of the Psalmist. The word translated "planted" is a Hebrew word used throughout the Old Testament to speak of God's activity in creation. He created your ear. He planted it. He that designed and created your ear, do you not think He can hear?

In Psalm 94 God's people have been crying out in agony because "the wicked were triumphing" (v. 3). Those who were committing evil were saying "hard things" against God's people (v. 4). They "break in pieces the people of God" (v. 5), and they even afflict the poor, defenseless and fatherless (v. 6). "How long?" God's people cry, "How long?" The Psalmist response to the petitions of God's people is a clear cut path to encouragement and comfort for those of us who wonder if God hears us when we plead for mercy in our time of need.
God planted (created) your ear. He, above all others, always hears everything. He will respond to my pleas. In due time, God will "rise up for me" (v. 16). The Lord "will be my help" (v. 17). "Thy mercy, O Lord, holds me up when I slip" (v. 18). "The Lord is my defense" (v. 22). Take comfort my soul. My King is on His throne and He hears me.
The ancients had a subtitle to Psalm 94 that went along these lines: "The Psalm to be sung on the fourth day of the week." The fourth day of the week is what we call Wednesday, or Hump Day.

Psalm 94 is a proven encouragement for any hump day in our lives. Next time we doubt God hears our prayers, we ought to study closely the human ear. "He who  planted the ear, does He not hear?" (Psalm 94:9). In His time, in just the right time, God will rise up for you and be your defense.
He hears.


Brindusa said...

This is encouraging. Yes, going through hardships is difficult enough, but when you get the impression that God responds with nothing but silence when you beg, that's really tough.

I hope it is not considered bad manners if I share a link of my own... Some of my own thoughts after a prolonged time of struggles...

Wade Burleson said...


Delighted you gave us your link! Great thoughts.

Brindusa said...

Thank you very much! :-)

Victorious said...

I'm hesitant to post my thoughts because sometimes I feel like I'm playing the "devil's advocate." But decided to go ahead in hopes someone will have an answer for me that makes sense.

I wish I could say this gave me comfort, but in all honesty, it does not. I know it should, but it doesn't. Not even Psalm 94 comforts me when crying out to God and hearing nothing from Him in response.

My "forever" question to Him has been "Why, Lord." Why can't you just make yourself visible, audible, understandable, and available to those who love you so and are in need of some assurance and/or answers? Why, Lord.

As a parent myself, I'm here for my sons for whatever or whenever regardless of their needs. While I may not provide what they're asking, I reply in a voice they can hear so they'll understand the reason for my refusal.

Why, then, must there be such mystery involved between the questioner and the one who could provide the answer?

If God designed my ear, isn't He powerful enough to make certain it can do what it was designed for?

This post pushed a button for me as is obvious. But really, why, Lord?

P.S. I have heard from the Lord several times in response to my questions. You can know when it's the Lord because the answer is much wiser than anything you could have thought of yourself! :) But why can't this be the “norm” is my question to Him.

Mary Ann

Tom said...

A number of years ago I was interacting with a Nepalese pastor, and he had come up with the catchcry of PUSH Prayer.


I responded with an Email to him with just two questions: -

If God decides to do nothing has something Happened?


If God does what you ask of him, who is God?

Abraham before he had left Ur, Acts7:2-3, God had spoken to him and had promised the following to him:

Genesis 12:1-3: –– (12:1) Now the Lord had said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. (2) And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves."

But when he left Ur, his wife was barren.

Genesis 11:27-31: –– (27) Now these are the descendants of Terah {while he lived in Ur}. . . . (30) Now Sar'ai was barren; she had no child.

(31) Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sar'ai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chalde'ans to go into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there.

Genesis does not tell us when Abraham left Ur with Terah, but the Oral Tradition suggests that Abraham was around 50 years of age.

God required Abraham to Believe and because he believed, it was counted to him as righteous, Gen 15:6.

My Nepalese Pastor friend was not teaching his “church” to believe that God would heard their prayer(s) and that they needed to start giving thanks that God would begin to meet their needs because of that initial prayer that they had offered up to Him.

In Matthew 26:36-46 we are told that Jesus when he return to prayer the third time used the same words that he had previously used at the first, but when he left the garden, he had been strengthened and was at peace and was able to humbly face his cross destiny.

So often when we pray we already have the outcome mapped out in our minds as to how God should respond and we do not trust/forget that God know how to best meet our needs.

A few years back I knew a young man who was preparing to go to a country in the middle of Asia. He had asked God for a wife before he went. Now the girl that he asked had also been praying about becoming a missionary’s wife. Within months they were married and she began a theological course to also become a missionary.

Within a few days of them both being accepted as a missionary couple to go to his chosen country the girl had collapsed and died leaving the young man was devastated.

God had answered their prayers, God had allowed him to have a wife before he was to set out to go and she had had her prayer answered becoming a missionary’s wife.

The outcome was not what was expected.

The young man disappeared to recover and two years later he was again on his way to the middle of Asia, and he had fallen in love with a new wife who was going with him.

In the middle Asian country where this young man was going, life is very hard and God had provided an experience for him whereby he would have empathy with the people he was going to live with. God had been kind to him in allowing him to have loving people around him after the loss of his first wife. God had strengthened him for his purposes and he was again at peace and had been better prepared to face the challenges that would lie before him.

He had also learnt about the power of prayer and to trust God completely to meet all of his needs even before he becomes aware of them and how to listen to Him.

In listening to God we have to clear our minds of our expectations so that God’s words can be heard.


Tom Ross

Christiane said...

when we pray that God's Will be done, then our prayer changes us

Wade Burleson said...


Your comment is heart felt and welcomed!

No easy answer here, and impossible to explain what is often a mystery.

One of God's promises to us is that He is able to do "exceedingly abundantly MORE than we could ever ask or even think." If God does not respond the way you believe He should, and if you are convinced He hears you, then you must rest that in the end, He is doing some MORE better (poor English I know), MUCH MORE GREATER (again, the superlative is what I wish to emphasize), EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY MORE BETTER than you are even thinking or asking.

I still may not help you with that, but it is the principle by which I live.


Aussie John said...


The cry in Victorious' comment reminds me of my much younger self, and the many who have broached the subject.

I bet your Dad would have a similar experience to this: I've found that being blessed with a long life allows us to realize many things we thought we knew when we were younger and "experienced":)

One of those is the matter of answered prayer.

I have often awoken to the fact that a prayer, prayed many years ago, has been, or, is being, answered today.

Often, I've realized, in retrospect, that a prayer HAS been answered.

God's ways are not our ways.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

'The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Blessed be the Lord."


'God's ways are not our ways'

Amen to that.

there is hymn in our Church:
'the Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Blessed be the Lord.'
and it also recalls to me Christ's teaching about the humbled broken heart of the repentent publican who asked for God's mercy,
and God heard his prayer . . . (St. Luke's Gospel, chapter 18)

perhaps it is a humbled condition of the 'heart' we need to bring before God that will determine how we are heard by Him, and how He responds to us ?

I think it must be

Gary said...

“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me[a] for anything, I will do it.

---Jesus of Nazareth

Do you remember asking Jesus for the BIG stuff when you were a little kid? You asked Jesus to give you three ponies ( a black one, a brown one, and a white one) for Christmas. You asked Jesus to bring back your favorite GI Joe after he washed down the street drain in a storm. When your dog, Tippy, died you asked Jesus to bring him back from the dead. When you heard about all the starving children in the world, you prayed to Jesus to leave an envelope with one million bucks inside on your doorstep the next morning so you could feed all those starving kids.

So why don't you ask Jesus for the BIG stuff anymore? He said to ask for anything and he would do it!

Answer: When we get a little older we realize that Jesus didn't really mean what he said. What he meant to say was this,

"If you ask anything in my name, I will do is my will to do it. If it isn't my will, I won't."

So as we get older we stop asking Jesus for the big things, the hard things, because we have learned that Jesus never answers those prayers. Ok, maybe once in a great while Jesus answers a big or hard prayer but it is always something that could have happened by chance anyway, isn't it? Even really rare things can happen by chance. But Jesus never resurrects Grandpa or Grandma from the dead, no matter how hard we pray, does he? Jesus never reattaches a severed limb from an amputee, does he?

No, Jesus doesn't answer those prayers. That is asking Jesus for just a little too much, isn't it, dear Christian? That is why when you get older you only ask Jesus for the easy stuff: To bless your food. To give you a "nice day". To keep your kids safe.

And when it is time to go to bed at night, you get down on your knees by your bed and you ask Jesus to bless everyone in your life; you thank him for having let you and your children live one more day...and then you fall asleep into your wake up in the repeat the same prayer...full of easy requests, so you don't ask too much of Jesus...who promised to give you anything that you asked for.

But, maybe you're not asking Jesus for too much. Maybe the reason Jesus doesn't answer the big or the hard prayer requests is because Jesus can't hear you. Jesus can't hear you...because Jesus is dead.

Dear Christian: You are an adult now. Just as you stopped believing in imaginary beings called Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, it is time to stop believing in and praying to an ancient man/god who died 2,000 years ago. The "Virgin Birth", the "Resurrection", etc., are ancient folk tales. Jesus doesn't answer your prayer requests any more than Santa and the Tooth Fairy answered your requests to them when you were a kid.

It's a silly superstition and nothing more, friend. The fact that Jesus doesn't answer your "big" prayers is proof.