What to Do When God Seems ‘Asleep’

Daily Devotion | Day 275

“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’” (Mark 4:37-38, NKJV).

The Apostles had had enough. The storm wouldn’t cease. Initially, they probably tried to let out as much water as they could. At first, they didn’t want to bother the Master who was taking a nap. But all their maneuvering proved futile. The storm only grew fierce. Now their boat was filling up with water. They knew what that meant: The end was near.

But wait, there was one more thing. During this whole time the Teacher (Jesus) was asleep. The noise from the storm didn’t seem to disturb His sleep. The Gospel writer added an important detail. Jesus wasn’t just sleeping. He was comfortably resting on a pillow – in the middle of the storm.

When all their efforts failed, the Apostles turned to the sleeping Teacher. They awoke Him and poured their frustration on Him: “Teacher,” they said, “do You not care that we are perishing?” A Friend who sleeps during your period of crisis certainly doesn’t appear to be the caring type.

Up to this time, the Apostles had confidence in their Master. He was there when they needed Him. But today is different. Today, the Master sleeps when they need Him the most. This was the one day they doubted that their beloved Teacher cared: “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

All crisis is not the same. Some are more severe than others. Some problems you can easily manage and ultimately overcome. But there are times when problems come at you with the intensity of the waves of the sea, and you can feel overwhelmed. In these moments, you hope you can use some divine intervention. But all you hear from heaven is silence. It feels like God is asleep.

Then you begin to wonder if He cares. When this feeling persists long enough, in some people it can reach a tipping point where they begin to wonder: Does God even exist? Perhaps you’ve had your own moments where you wondered if God cares or is who He says He is.

Moments when it seems God is ‘asleep,’ remember (and this may shock you): God doesn’t do everything for you; not because He can’t, but because He has already given you the wisdom, the will and the ability to handle the problem. Your prayer shouldn’t be, “Lord, don’t you care? Please, do something.” Rather, you want to pray, “Lord, I know you care. Show me what I am missing here.” And listen attentively, He will illuminate you about how you ought to proceed. You will marvel at how suddenly you begin to see a clear path and an open door before you.

Take the following example:

One day the Israelites were caught between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. It was overwhelming. They felt it was a mistake to leave Egypt. They also felt JEHOVAH was not who He said He was. Moses was under immense pressure, so he cried to God. Now listen to what God told him, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it.”

Did you catch that? God wanted Moses to stop crying to Him; not because He didn’t want to help, but because He had given Moses the ability he needed to take care of the problem. God didn’t say, “Wait, I’m going to divide the Red Sea for you.” Rather, He told Moses to go ahead and take care of the problem using his rod.

Understand that God has made you His partner. He has shared His power, wisdom and glory with you. When you feel like He is silent or ‘asleep,’ it doesn’t mean He doesn’t care. It means it’s time for you to act by faith in God’s Name.

BlessingMay your light shine and overcome all powers of darkness in your life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study2 Kings 2:1-14

Finding Strength in Corporate Prayer Support

Daily Devotion| Day 241

“Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!’” (Esther 4:15-16, NKJV).

A decree had gone forth for the destruction of all Jews in king Ahasuerus’ kingdom (Esther 3:12-13). The clock was ticking. Mordecai petitioned Queen Esther to intervene. Fearing for her life, Esther hesitated. By law, anyone – including the queen – who entered the king’s presence without his express invitation incurred the death penalty. But Mordecai insisted that Esther reconsider her decision. Eventually, Esther mustered strength and decided to approach the king on behalf of the Jews. Our Bible passage today contains Esther’s reply to Mordecai – her uncle.

Esther’s plan was simple. She was going to do her part by speaking to king Ahasuerus. But she needed the support of the Jews. She, therefore, demanded that all her fellow Jews join her in fasting for three days, counting on the Lord for breakthrough. This was a battle for survival. Yet, Esther and everyone knew that they could not rely on physical weapons for victory.

The Jews had one thing working for them: confidence in JEHOVAH. And they put that faith to work by collectively supporting Esther’s efforts with fasting (and prayer). They weren’t fasting for health and wellness reasons. They were fasting for divine intervention. When people of God fast like this, they are declaring their complete dependence on God as the source of life. At the same time, they are demonstrating their confidence in God’s promises, believing that “man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

At the end of the day, the Jews prevailed. This teaches us an important lesson about corporate prayer. A divided house cannot stand (Mark 3:24-25). When Christians get together to pray for breakthrough regarding something, it is important that they be on the same page as far as believing is concerned. When believers (with one mind, having no doubt) join in fasting and prayer to support a fellow believer or any issue, powerful results happen. The Jews stood behind Esther with one accord, and they prevailed.

Next time you have an opportunity to be part of a corporate prayer, make your support count.

Blessing: May the Lord preserve you from all who plot your downfall, in the Name of Jesus! Amen.

For further study: Acts 12:1-24

Seeing the Problem as God Sees It

Daily Devotion: Day 233

“For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water . . . And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 3:17-18, KJV).

Once upon a time, the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom formed an alliance to fight against the king of Moab. On their journey, they met with adversity. The land was so dry they had no water for seven days. Fearing that this situation would weaken them and ensure defeat at the hands of the Moabites, the kings turned to prophet Elisha for divine assistance. Today’s Scripture passage tells us part of Elisha’s prophecy for the three kings.

According to the prophecy, they would see neither wind nor rain. But the valley (where they were camped) would be filled with water. Indeed, that is exactly what happened. There was no sign of wind or rain, yet the next morning the valley was filled with water (2 Kings 3:20). We have much to say about the miracle, but let’s focus our attention on what Elisha said in verse 18: “And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD.”

The key words we want to highlight are, “in the sight of the LORD.” Sight refers to seeing. Elisha didn’t deny there was a problem. But what he did say was that God saw the problem as a light thing, i.e. insignificant. From God’s viewpoint, fixing the water crisis was a simple matter. In the sight of the three kings, it was a big problem, one that appeared insurmountable. That was how they saw the matter.

But Elisha gave them God’s view of the situation. With God, all things are possible, because He sees all problems as a light thing. When God sees a problem, He simultaneously sees its solution. His field of vision is unlimited, so He sees possibilities only and He delivers accordingly. Has this got anything to do with us? Yes. In what follows, we shall see why.

At some point in life you might face some form of adversity. But here is the thing: The adversity you face isn’t your main problem. How you see the adversity makes the difference. Perspective is important here. When you meet a problem, your reaction is more important than the problem itself. With your reaction, you can empower the problem or you can diminish its power over you. 

When you magnify a problem, you diminish yourself and acknowledge the problem’s authority over you. More importantly, you diminish God in the process. When you do that, you have crowned the problem king over you. And so many people magnify and crown their problems without even realizing it. Whatever you magnify, you empower. Be careful, therefore, what you magnify.

What you need to do is see every problem with the eyes of faith. Faith has eyes. Use them. This means you need to see the problem the way God sees it. God sees every problem as a light thing; so must youMiracles happen when you and God are on the same page, seeing things from the same angle. That is the key to breakthrough.

 May the Lord enable you to see things from His perspective. And may His divine power be always exalted in your life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Numbers 13:1-33; 14:1-38

The Lord Has Not Forgotten You

Daily Devotional: Day 154

“But the angel [Gabriel] said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth” (Luke 1:13-14, NKJV).

Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth had been married for years, but they had no child. The Bible says that Elizabeth was barren, and the couple was well advanced in years, i.e. they were past child-bearing age. This must have been very stressful for the couple, especially given the social and religious expectations of the time.

Based on today’s passage, we know that Zacharias had prayed for a child, but nothing changed. We also know from Luke 1:18 that the couple had, for obvious reasons, stopped entertaining any hope of having a child. The unkind laws of biology had closed the window of hope. What then was the point of praying? Naturally, Zacharias and his wife moved on, having accepted the reality. But had God moved on? Zacharias was about to find out.

One day, while Zacharias was ministering as a priest, angel Gabriel appeared to him and promised that the couple would have a child. Notice how Gabriel put it; he said to Zacharias, “your prayer is heard.” Zacharias’ prayer had been heard long (probably years) before Gabriel brought this news. This tells us that, although Zacharias had moved on, God hadn’t. When you pray today, God hears you and may say ‘Yes’ to your request, but you may not see the result until some time later.

The point is, with God, timing is everythingEvery blessing has its timing. And timing varies from person to person. What is the right time for others may not be the right time for you. You may think you need something now, but now may not be God’s plan for you, no matter how desperate you think your situation is. Do you have the patience to trust and wait? When you pray for something, don’t just focus on what you want, ask God to also give you a sense of timing – so that you can wait in hope if necessary.

There probably were many contemporaries of Zacharias and Elizabeth who had children. But everyone is different, and every marriage is also different. You may or may not have children. You may have just one child or many. Whatever the situation is, it doesn’t prove that God loves you more or less. The fact is, we’re all different and so we will not all have the same things at the same time. Therefore, it is not advisable to compare yourself to others. Let others be others, and you be you. Be happy about your life, knowing that God hasn’t abandoned you. He knows what He is doing with you. Just relax.

Comparing yourself to others only puts unnecessary pressure on you. You’ll will come under even more pressure if you listen to people around you who are constantly reminding you of what you lack. Those are people who impose their own expectations on you. If you’re not secure in your faith, they’ll make you doubt yourself. To put an end to their pressure, you might do things that’ll compromise every virtue you uphold. If you have people like that in your inner circle, you need to be extra careful. If you can keep your distance from them, don’t hesitate to do so. 

Ask God to show you His specific will and timing for you; once you know that, you’ll have peace in all you do. Despite the pain of not having a child, Zacharias and his wife were not mad at God; they weren’t bitter or agitated. In fact, they never stopped being faithful to God (cf. Luke 1:5-6). When the time was right, Gabriel said to Zacharias, “you will have joy and gladness” (emphasis added). This means, it’s never too late for you, too, to have joy and gladness. No blessing from God is too late. God’s timing is always perfect.

Whether you see the result of your prayer today, next year or never, one thing is important: Just remain faithful. God has not forgotten about you. He will surprise you when you least expect.

May the Lord’s favor be upon you today! Amen.

For further study: Psalm 13:1-6