I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that you have probably tried to reach out to someone recently who did not give you the courtesy of a response. You messaged, texted, or emailed them and in return you got silence. Frustrating, isn’t it? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the no-reply is becoming more of a phenomenon these days.
But before I get too carried away ranting about it, I must acknowledge my own failure here. I try to give people the courtesy of a prompt response, but sometimes – either for legitimate or illegitimate reasons – I don’t get it done. I have invited people in my social circles to hold me accountable. If I don’t reply to them in reasonable time, they have permission to give me a kick in the seat of the pants. As far as I’m concerned, though technology has transformed our lives and the way we communicate, courtesy still matters.
To be no-replied hurts, no matter who you are.
In Psalm 22, David mistakenly thought he was being no-replied by God. He was trying to reach out, but it seemed that God was not hearing him, not responding. As you can tell from these lyrics, he was very upset about it:
1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
You can probably relate. Most of us have experienced this. We’re praying repeatedly about some situation, but it seems that God is not getting the message or is not interested in responding to us. We feel overlooked and abandoned.
But if you read on in Psalm 22, you will find that David had a change of heart. After airing out his frustration, David did a few things that helped him get back on top. Let’s take a look at them.
Reflect on God’s attributes. After thinking about it for a minute, David comes to his senses and says “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.” (v. 3) David realized that God is not the kind of person who just ignores people. A holy God doesn’t do that. He isn’t random. He isn’t mean-spirited. In His way and in His time, He always replies.
“The character of God remains unchanged, regardless of human circumstances. That makes him worthy of our trust.” (Joanne Jung, Knowing Grace)
Review God’s faithfulness up ’til now. To help in his moment of panic, David did something very smart. Instead of getting hysterical, David went historical. Meaning? He reviewed how God had been trustworthy in the past, even as far back as his ancestors.
4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
David’s logic simply goes like this: If God has a track record of being trustworthy in the past, I can relax, because that means He will also be trustworthy in the present.
Rest assured there’s something bigger going on. Read the story of Christ’s passion and you’ll notice that as Jesus was being crucified, He quoted David’s words from Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” Little did David know that those lyrics he had written on a hard day would someday be quoted by the Messiah as He died for the sins of the world. David felt like God the Father wasn’t listening, but for Jesus, it was more than just a feeling. Jesus would endure the ultimate no-reply on our behalf. On the cross, He was actually forsaken, so that we could be forgiven (I Peter 2:24).
When it seems like God isn’t listening, rest assured there is something bigger going on. Though we may not see it or understand it, God is up to something good, really good.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.