Cold Shoulders

But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” (Matthew 15:23 ESV)

Those who pray wholeheartedly but don’t get answers from God may take comfort from the story of the Canaanite woman. Jesus heard her prayers alright. He knew the urgency of her request. There was no question about the authenticity of her supplication: she was genuine, earnest, intense, and most of all, she had faith.

So why didn’t she get a prompt answer to her prayers?

Honestly, I have no idea. I just know for a fact that there are times when God simply takes His time. Without explanations, without warning, He goes silent. Maybe it is a test of our character. Or maybe because the time is not right.

Whatever the reason, we must remember that it is in moments like these when our souls pass through the fire of God. We wonder why other people seem to get prompt answers to their prayers while we stagger at the silence of God. It just doesn’t make sense.

You could pound the doors of heaven all you want, you could plead that you are earnest and sincere. But sincerity is not the only basis why God answers prayers. In the high heavens, God makes up decisions about our prayers on the basis of His omniscience and sovereignty. It takes faith to feel secure in the fact that the God who holds everything in His hands has your best interests at heart.

The Canaanite woman got her answers after a severe test of faith and wills. Her undaunting faith in the kindness of God prevailed. She knew deep within her heart that God would never turn away anyone who comes to Him.

But enough of the ancient Canaanite woman who’s already had a happy ending. The more relevant question to chew on today is this: Does it seem like God is giving you the cold shoulders? Aren’t your prayers getting answered? Take comfort in the fact that God heard them alright. He could just be taking His time. He’s not deaf, you know.