God has a voice, an audible voice, that can be heard like I would hear you if you and I were in the same room and you called me. God used His voice to create heaven and earth. He used it when He spoke to Adam and Eve after they had done what they should not have. God used His voice to call Noah, Abraham and Moses to accomplish His purposes. There’s even a verse that describes God as rejoicing over His people with singing (Zeph 3:17).
When we skip over to the New Testament we see God using His vocal chords again in a number of places. He speaks at the baptism of Jesus and at the transfiguration of Jesus. All of this to show, that God has a voice and He knows how to speak out loud.
Have you ever been in a situation where you wished God would speak out loud to you? Perhaps you had a difficult decision to make. Maybe you were wondering about which school to go to, what to do with your relationship, what to do to beat your addiction or why your child/parent/sibling was sick? Maybe you simply felt weak and broken and wondered if there was anything left to live for. Or you heard Jesus calling you, and you just wanted Him to tell you exactly where and how He would like you to serve.
‘So why doesn't God use His voice when I need it most?’ you might ask. I have wondered a few times why God didn’t talk to me like that. Sure, God puts things on my heart all the time. But sometimes I’m stubborn and then God impressing my heart with things is a much lengthier process then for example just an audible 'Zippora I want you to this or that'-message from the Father would have been.
But recently, a thought came to me that I had not considered before. Jesus was very close to the Father. At times He would spend entire nights in prayer. Jesus intimately knew the Father, and the Father intimately knew Jesus. They were (and are) one. So if anyone, in his deepest agony should hear God speaking to be encouraged, it should be Jesus, right? If ever there was a time where it would be expected, it would be when the beloved Son asks the Father a simple question: ‘Father is it possible to take this cup away from me and stay within your will?’ What was the answer to this question?
When Jesus is in Gethsemane, sweating blood, knowing He’s about to be sold out to people who will humiliate, abuse and then kill Him, as He’s kneeling down to pray about it, what was Heaven’s response?
No voice from the sky this time. No singing angels. Here is Jesus, at His breaking point, and He doesn’t get to hear the voice of God either. Just like the rest of us. It doesn’t deter Him though. We see Jesus taking a short break, only to return to his knees and repeat the same question. ‘Father, is there a way for me that’s not this one?’ Still no voice. But as Jesus returns to prayer, something else happens. God sends an angel from heaven to strengthen Jesus. After this we see Jesus getting up, gathering His friends and ready to face His nightmare.
The silence was no reason for Jesus to give up and walk away from God. He didn’t conclude that because He couldn't hear God speak like He had before that God no longer cared. He returned to prayer and found strength and courage there. God had spoken to his heart. And for sinful broken people like me here is our lesson: Overcoming our worst fears, and getting the answer to life’s questions on this side of eternity, is not in God’s audible voice, or an immediate response. It’s about understanding, that prayer is much more than speaking to your empty bedroom. Prayer is access to the throne of the only wise God. It is about surrendering our will to God and allowing Him to give us strength. It is about not giving up after your first prayer and not letting go until He blesses you. It is about knowing where He has led you in the past so that you can trust Him to lead in your future.
May this account of Jesus’ suffering remind us that He is our example in all things. If Jesus could go through all that, strengthened through prayer, without getting any audible directions, then through His strength, you and I can have victory in our situations through prayer also.
In prayer God will speak to our hearts, though perhaps not audible, just as valuable. Isaiah 41:10.