“So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.” John 11:6
It may be a hard lesson to learn, but the Bible teaches that there are times when the silence of God is itself an answer. In our text, John doesn’t just say that there was no audible response to the cry from Bethany. In fact, John explicitly states that the absence of an audible reply was the answer to Bethany’s cry. It was when Jesus heard that Lazarus lay sick in Bethany that He stayed for “two more days in the place where He was.”
There have been many times in my life where I have heard the outward silence. I have often sent up my cries only to have their answer come back in the echo of my voice. Like the Psalmist, I have cried out in the darkness of my despair, “Why are you so far from helping me?” I never stopped to consider that His seeming distance was, in fact, the proof of His nearness – that Heaven’s silence was its answer.
It was a greater answer than Bethany could have ever dreamed. They had aimed too low, asked for too little. They just asked Jesus to save Lazarus’ life, but Jesus gave them his earthly life and the revelation of eternal life as well.
We sometimes pray prayers that are followed by a divine silence because we are not yet ready to receive everything that we’ve asked for. It’s also true that there are times we pray and hear nothing but silence because we’re ready for much more. Many times we do not know the full strength of our own ability, and we have to be prepared to receive greater and better blessings than we’ve ever even dream of. We run with tears to the door of death’s tomb and are met with silence because we are to receive something even better – the living Lord Himself.
Don’t be afraid of Heaven’s silence. It is just another form of His voice. You see, God’s silence is not man’s silence, and His “no” is better than the world’s “yes.”
Have you cried out to God only to hear a calm stillness? Isn’t that quiet stillness then the voice of God? And, isn’t that voice one that will carry you until the full and final answer comes? Has He not yet moved to meet your need? That’s okay. His stillness will make you still until He has something better than mere help to give you. Wait for Him in the silence. Before long your answer will be heard aloud, and death will be swallowed up in victory!