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When Heaven feels silent

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By Rev. Kim Metelka

The thing that I remember so well when our son Rob was first diagnosed with cancer were all the stories that people shared with me about answered prayer.  Their accounts were of loved ones and friends who had been healed and of how thankful they had been that their prayers had been heard.

Yet we know that the outcome of our prayer is not always that our loved ones are restored to us.  When this happens it can sometimes feel that heaven has gone quite silent, leaving us wondering whether we have been heard at all.  Questions fill our minds and our hearts, and our prayers grow more intent as with the Psalmist we say, “Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.” (Psalm 27:7-8) Something just does not feel right and the silence only grows more deafening.

As Christians, our faith can be challenged as we face some very real and painful struggles in life.  As we respond to these struggles in prayer, it is common for us to hold a particular, hoped-for outcome, feeling that when God answers our prayers, it will take a certain form, and look a particular way.  It is understandable why we do this, especially in the very difficult and painful situations and yet we may in those very same circumstances be missing how our prayers are being answered in other ways.  When we have our minds so fixed on the answer we are expecting, we can miss the grace and the beauty that can be born out of the struggles in our lives, and in the lives of those with whom we are journeying.

From my experience, I believe our Lord does hear and answer our prayers, and he does this in many and various ways. Next time you feel the silence of heaven pressing in upon you in your prayers, I invite you to listen and look for the unexpected ways that God is answering your prayers today, opening yourself to all the different possibilities and then you too will realize that heaven is never silent.

Rev. Kim Metelka is an AFP executive and rector of St. John in the Wilderness, Bright’s Grove