“So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.” (John 11:6)
And so the silence of God was itself an answer. It is not merely said that there was no audible response to the cry from Bethany; it is distinctly stated that the absence of an audible response was itself the answer to the cry – it was when the Lord heard that Lazarus was sick that therefore He stayed two days still in the same place where He was. I have often heard the outward silence. A hundred times have I sent up aspirations whose only answer has seemed to be the echo of my own voice, and I have cried out in the night of my despair. “Why art Thou so far from helping me?” But I never thought that the seeming farness was itself the nearness of God – that the very silence was an answer.
It was a very grand answer to the household of Bethany. They had asked not too much, but too little. They had asked only the life of Lazarus. They were to get the life of Lazarus and a revelation of eternal life as well.
There are some prayers that are followed by a Divine silence because we are not yet ripe for all we have asked; there are others which are so followed because we are ripe for more. We do not always know the full strength of our own capacity; we have to be prepared for receiving greater blessings than we have ever dreamed of. We come to the door of the sepulcher and beg with tears the dead body of Jesus; we are answered by silence because we are to get something better – a living Lord!
My soul, be not afraid of God’s silence; it is another form of His voice. God’s silence is more than man’s speech. God’s negative is better than the world’s affirmative. Have thy prayers been followed by a calm stillness? Well! Is not that God’s voice – a voice that will suffice thee in the meantime till the full disclosure comes? Has He moved not from His place to help thee? Well, but His stillness makes thee still, and He has something better than help to give thee.
Wait for Him in the silence, and before long it shall become vocal; death shall be swallowed up in victory!
Think not that God’s silence is coldness or indifference. When birds are on the nest preparing to bring forth life, they never sing. God’s stillness is full of brooding. Be not impatient with God!
When the Lord is to lead a soul to great faith, He for a time leaves his prayer unanswered.
- George Matheson “The Blind Preacher”