Have you ever prayed for something and felt like ignored by God? You cry out to Him and don’t hear an answer. I know it can leave you feeling disappointed and hurt.
Today, we’re diving into the story of two women who were friends of Jesus who felt the same way.
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Highlights From the Episode:
Have you ever prayed for something and then felt ignored by God? Like you cry out to him and you don’t hear an answer? I know that it can leave you feeling disappointed and hurt. And so I wanted to talk to you guys today about two women in the Bible who were friends of Jesus, who felt this way.
And this is actually a requested video because this is a topic that I’ve talked about on just the podcast. I wanted to bring it to you guys here on the YouTube channel to just talk to you a little bit about this, because it seems like prayer and unanswered prayers are something that really blocks us from having a more full relationship with Jesus because there’s that hurt and disappointment that’s there. So I wanted to share this last video in our abundant series about what to do whenever you feel ignored by God. Let’s dive in.
1. When You Don’t Hear from Jesus
So like I said, there is a story in the Bible. It’s actually in John chapter 11 where it talks about some friends of Jesus. And if you have ever struggled with an unanswered prayer which I say if, but I’m sure that you have because we all struggle with praying for things that it seems like God isn’t hearing us. You know, it says that he gives us the desires of our heart and we’re not seeing those things come to fruition and it can be really difficult.
I want to share this story because I think that whenever we don’t hear from Jesus, that disappointment can sometimes cause us to not want to spend time with him. Right? And I want that to be the opposite.
So let’s dive into this story and this is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. But I want you to imagine the story without knowing the ending. So it’s found in John 11 and Lazarus and his two sisters Mary and Martha are very close to Jesus. They are friends of Jesus. He has stayed at their house before and Lazarus is really sick.
Mary and Martha, who are Lazarus’s sisters send a message to Jesus and they tell him you know, your friend, this person that you love he is sick and we need you to come right away. But Jesus didn’t come right away. Now, after a few days, Jesus tells his disciples our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep and I’m going to now go wake him up.
His disciples thought that Jesus meant that Lazarus had like fallen asleep, like went to sleep. But what Jesus meant by that was that Lazarus had died. And so I want you to see again, let’s think about this story without knowing the ending and realize that Lazarus was the primary breadwinner for his sisters.
It is implied that they’re not married because they’re living with their brother and back then women didn’t work. It was the men who were providing. So he was providing for his two sisters and his death really created a dire situation for them, right? It created this situation where they were not gonna have any kind of a way to take care of themselves. And they still had faith in Jesus.
So whenever he finally arrives, they say to him, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. And they remember, they sent that message to Jesus but there’s no record that he responded back to them. It wasn’t like he sent a message back and said, Hey you know, I’ll be there in a couple of days. Lazarus will have already died, but don’t worry, I have a plan, there was nothing like that. There had to trust that happened. And they were disappointed.
So whenever he showed up, they’re like, look if you had just been here, you could have healed him. You could have taken care of this situation. And they were disappointed because they knew that if he had responded to them, then their brother wouldn’t have died. And our disappointment comes whenever we have unmet expectations of Jesus too. So they had an expectation that if they called Jesus he would come right away and he didn’t do that.
2. Unmet Expectations
When we have unmet expectations it’s we have these expectations of God and kind of we put God in a box of what he should do, when he should do it, how he should do it, right. We have these unmet expectations. And then we end up with disappointment out of that. That’s when I think that we can really feel ignored by God is when we have unmet expectations about what he should do and when he should do it.
So like I said, we put God in this box of our own expectations. And then when our expectations aren’t met, we start to feel disappointed. And we feel like this attack on our faith because God didn’t act in the way that we thought he should or he didn’t perform the way that we thought that he should. Right, and we start to think, well, how could he do this? How could he treat me this way, you know? And when we feel that way that when we feel ignored, when we feel disappointed there’s something that we have to remember and that’s this truth that God is good and he does good.
3. God is good and He does good
So I’m sure that you’ve heard preachers say that God is good and he does good but I just want you to take a second and really internalize it into your own heart right now to say God is good and God does good.
The favorite thing of the enemy to attack of God is his character. So if you think about the garden of Eden, Satan went to Eve and he attacked God’s character by saying, you know, did God really say that? You know, if he really loved you, then he would let you eat that, the enemy always likes to attack the character of God.
And so if we are 100% trusting that God is good and he does good, then this is when that character of God trumps anything else that’s going on in our lives. So I wanna ask you if you have expected God to move in your life in a certain way maybe you expected your life to go a certain way. You expected God to heal you in a certain way or you wanted him to counteract a problem for you.
I just want to encourage you to let go of any limits that you are putting on your faith right now and to let go of putting Jesus in a box. I want you to take those expectations away and remember that God is always good. And he always does good. Always, right, he always does. And so there was a reason in his infinite wisdom and knowledge.
There was a reason why Jesus had waited to respond to come to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus was using the opportunity to do something bigger than Mary and Martha could imagine. So Mary and Martha had in this box they knew that Jesus could heal people. They had seen it happen. And so they had this box of expectation that Jesus would heal Lazarus. That was their faith. That was the limits of their faith.
But Jesus was ready to just blow that box away and do something completely different. And he wanted to use the opportunity to show that he’s the resurrection in the life. I want you to see that Jesus says that he says in this story, he says, “I am the resurrection in the life.” He was revealing who he was.
4. “I am the resurrection and the life”
And in your circumstance, Jesus is revealing who he is in your life as well. So I want you to know that your life is not your money. It’s not your social life. It’s not your family. It’s not your health. It’s not your free time. Jesus is your life.
And so there’s a limit on your faith right now because God didn’t act in the way that you thought. So you have to step out of that. You have to step out in faith and break down those barriers and really just give it to the Lord.
Whenever you feel ignored by God, it could be that it’s time for you to say, okay, I feel ignored. And I feel disappointed because my expectation of God is this. And I have to take off this box and really let my faith grow to say that God’s way is always better and God is good and always does good.
So I think it’s really interesting that in this story when Lazarus is in the grave, Jesus tells them, I mean he could have just like flicked his wrist and that stone would’ve been moved out of the way but he asks the people who are there to roll the stone away. And I think it’s interesting that when he did that it’s almost like I could just imagine in the story like everybody looking at the two sisters and saying, well what do you guys want us to do? Should we do this? And they say, yeah, do it.
You know, there are a lot of rituals around death and touching a corpse. And so they, there was really no one who wanted to do that like to exude a body or to roll the stone away. Nobody was interested in doing that. And so when the sisters, had to have faith before the miracle happened, obviously they had to in order to receive that miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead, they had to have faith to do that. So the sisters gave the order, and they rolled the stone away.
They were showing, they were doing more than just rolling the stone away, they were showing their faith in Jesus. They were saying whatever he says, we are gonna do. Even if we don’t understand it even if we’re disappointed in him right now even if it doesn’t make sense, we’re gonna trust him.
So if you feel ignored by God, like he hasn’t heard you or he hasn’t listened to you, I want you to step out in faith and really just believe that God is good and he does good. Whenever we have that trust, that trumps everything else.
And that area that you’ve kind of kept from God. That area that you have him kind of in a box or this expectation that you have of him is exactly what he wants from you. I know that can be kind of hard because we think, okay, well if, you know, at least I know where I’m at right here. Like, I, at least I’m in a comfortable place. At least this is like the pain that I know basically. That’s what he’s asking for. So whenever we step out in faith we’re taking those expectations off and we’re saying, “God do whatever you want to do.”
If you haven’t seen the video where I talk about having a deeper relationship with Jesus, make sure and watch that video because I kind of lay out the steps of what it looks like to do this in your own life. And one of those steps is making room for God to do whatever he wants to do. That’s what these sisters did. They made room for whatever Jesus wanted to do. And it might, the way that, whatever he wants to do, might not look like the way that you wanted him to do things.
It might not seem like the way that you wanted it to be. But by stepping out in faith and taking off those expectations what you’re saying to God is, “I’m gonna follow you, I wanna walk with you. I want to trust you with my life. Even if it seems like you’ve been ignoring me even if it seems like my prayers haven’t been heard and definitely haven’t been answered in the way that I thought even when I feel disappointed, God I’m going to choose to trust you.”
And I think that kind of trust, when you go through that and you make the decision to trust God through disappointment, there’s something that grows in you as a Christian. There’s something that matures in you as a Christian to say “It’s not about the way I feel. It’s not about how I think that things should go but it’s about trusting God with everything in my life.”
And if there is an area of your life where you aren’t trusting God with, can I just encourage you this week to sit down in your prayer time and give it to him? Because there are areas of our hearts that we sometimes, we have these blockades around, right, we have these walls around. Those are the areas that God wants the most. And if you can learn to trust him in those areas you are going to see him show up and show off in your life. Like I said, it may not look the way that you’re expecting but that’s part of saying, okay, Lord, I trust you. That’s part of saying whatever you wanna do I’m making room for whatever you wanna do.
So I hope that this story helped. And I love that it’s Jesus interacting with women. And it’s him saying to them, I see you, I love you, and I’m here to minister to you. I’m here to be life for you. So I just love that. And I, this is a topic that several women on the podcast have contacted me and said you should make a video on this topic because they love the podcast. So I wanted to share it here with you as well.
And just a couple of notes for future references or resources that we have on AshleyVarner.com. There’s the Thrive Bible Study Vault. I will leave the link in the show notes for that. It’s 12 months of Bible studies, they’re all audio. So it’s kind of like a mini-podcast slash Bible study, and you listen to it and then there’s a workbook that you can go through to go deeper. But if you are interested in that, I would definitely recommend it.
You can also check out Renew 180 which is my six-month program on renewing your mind so that you can transform your life. So if you’re wanting to see a big transformation in your life in six months, this is gonna be the program for you. We’d really talk about it all. There are coaching calls involved, there’s email support and there is weekly video teaching for you in that program. So make sure that you check both of those out and I will see you guys next time, have a great week.