A few weeks ago I sent out very personal email to some friends letting them know about things in my life. For the next three days I wondered why no one had responded; no simple “congrats” or “we’re praying for ya.” Instead my inbox remained empty. What I discovered is that somehow the email never got sent. What I assumed others had heard went unheard.
It reminded me of one of the biggest challenges with praying. There rarely is confirmation from God that he heard our request. At times it can seem like prayers go into that same blackhole as unanswered emails and text messages.
I find the story of Job an interesting lesson of this. Job had lost his children, his job, his wife, his friends and his health. Everything but Job’s life had been taken from him, so naturally he would cry out to God in prayer. Yet those prayers seemed to go unheard—until eventually God spoke to him from a whirlwind. The symbolism of God speaking from a chaotic windstorm suggests that it is precisely in these life changing, disappointing, and tragic situations that God was speaking and guiding Job.
In the closing section of the book it says that God “restored the fortunes” of Job.
It is important, however, to note that Job could not have gotten back precisely everything he had lost—for his children had died…and there was no mention of his wife. So while Job did not receive precisely what he had been crying out to God for, his confrontation with the God of the Whirlwind revealed that even in the chaos of life, God is speaking and sending us in a new direction. While it may seem that our prayers are going unheard, in reality God hears them and is trying to open our ears to hear his voice calling to us from some of the most unlikely of places.
What whirlwind are you in the midst of? How might you hear God’s voice calling from within it?