Why Doesn’t God Answer My Questions When I Pray to Him for Better Understanding of His Word?
Steve, why doesn’t God answer my questions when I’m struggling with understanding His Word? I get impatient and end up having to go to those online social media groups and asking people there, and then I get inundated with a jumble of conflicting opinions which just further confuses me. — Thanks, Bill
When I first started studying God’s Word on my own, decades ago, there was no social media. The internet didn’t even exist for the general public. The local preachers were basically inaccessible. And Bible teachers that took questions and answers were either few and far between.
So I actually had a big, thick, lined notebook upon the cover of which I wrote in black marker the following words: Hard Bible Questions.
And every time I had a hard question on a Bible-related topic, I did something that would probably be considered unusual today: I’d write my question down in that lined notebook, and then pray to Father to answer the question for me in the course of my further studies.
Sometimes he’d answer in a few hours as I continued to seek the answer in His Word. Sometimes in a few days. Sometimes in a few months. And sometimes in a few years.
It all depended upon when Father thought it was the appropriate time for me to get the answer to the question through my daily studies. It’s not like the Holy Spirit just comes down and says “Hey, Steve, here’s the answer to your last question.” Instead, I’d have to study harder, and “listen” for the answer. And when the time was right, it would be like a light going off in my head. Boom! There’s the answer.
Oftentimes, Father knew that I needed to understand other foundational Bible information first, in order to fully understand the answer to one of my hard questions. So in many cases while I thought He was ignoring my Bible questions and my prayers for answers, He was actually helping me to first understand the other things I’d need to know in order to fully grasp the answer to my more difficult question.
So He’d only give me the answer when He knew I was good and ready for it. You see, often answers to questions are completely in His timing. Not our own. This may be why you’re having trouble with this issue. You might need to study more, and depend more upon Him for your answers rather than on the social media crowd in which every Tom, Dick and Harry has a different answer.
Modern communications technology and easy, almost instantaneous access to information has distracted newer students from that critical point. With information at such easy reach, online, very few students are now taking the time to develop that ongoing personal relationship with God, through daily study of His Word (i.e., actually putting their faces in the book each day and studying and praying about their questions, and over the course of time experiencing that interaction with His Holy Spirit of Understanding.)
After all, why write down the hard questions and meditate on them and pray to Father over them, and wait for an answer from God’s Spirit through further study (which might take days, or weeks, or months, or longer), when you can take a quick short-cut and get your answer from some guy or some gal on Facebook, or through someone like me by email, or what-have-you?
In short, modern technology is a blessing, but at the same time, for many, it’s become a curse in that it deprives students of the beauty of learning directly from God Himself, because it’s so easy to find someone to spoon-feed you. And if one person won’t spoon feed you the answers you think you need right away, you can just about always find someone else who will, thanks to modern communications technology.
This massively deprives you of being able to develop that beautiful long-term relationship with your heavenly Father through His Holy Spirit of Truth, while you’re studying His Word each day, with your face actually in the book.
Over the course of time I had dozens of hard questions like the one’s you’re asking me written down in that “Hard Questions” notebook I mentioned. And because there was no public internet, there was no one else to ask. So I was forced to depend upon Father — something I’m now eternally grateful for, because it brought about that relationship with His Holy Spirit I can always depend upon.
Slowly, Father answered my questions, one at a time. And slowly I crossed them out of the “Hard Questions” notebook. But only as I was able to grasp, absorb and handle the answers. You see, that’s something only God can do for you. I can’t do it. Nor can any pastor or any other student. Only God can, through the unction of His Holy Spirit upon you as you study and meditate on His Word.
While it’s true we’re all supposed to be “instant in season and out of season” to preach the Word (i.e., ready to go at any time), it’s NOT our job to spoon feed every student, every answer to every question they have. It’s God’s job.
And He only does it for those who are serious about learning His Word, i.e., those who have their faces in His book on a regular basis, and who in so doing make the effort to connect with His Holy Spirit through that course of daily study, and who have the patience to wait for the answer from God as they continue to study, having confidence that He’ll answer exactly when He knows the time is right for that person to know the answer.
The hidden message in the Bible story of the fishes and the loaves (and the baskets full of fragments picked up by the crowds, afterwards) is that there’s always going to be people willing to share their scraps or fragments of knowledge with you, right or wrong, good or bad. But the only time you’ll get the FULL truth you can count on is when you dedicate yourself to eating from the “whole loaf” (Bible) which only Christ can properly feed you, through the unction of His Holy Spirit of Truth.
There are many, many students who actually prefer the scraps, because it’s instant gratification to get every answer you want as fast as possible with the least amount of work on your own part as possible. But thankfully, there are those who prefer to eat from the whole loaf each day, which entails going to God for your answers as you develop that long-term relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit while you study daily.
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not telling you not to ask me questions. I’m just telling you that it’s your choice to get the instant gratification from eating from the scraps and fragments of truth people have to offer you when you have questions, or conversely, to develop that trusty, long-term relationship with your Father by keeping your face in His Word and depending upon Him for the answers, knowing He might take longer to give you an answer you seek. But it will always be the right answer, and it will always be in His perfect timing for you.
It’s through that long-term process of developing a personal relationship with God through the study of His Word that a good Bible student becomes “one” with His Holy Spirit, and gradually develops to the point that he or she has what St. Paul referred to as the “mind of Christ.”
Most students prefer the short cuts (i.e., spoon-fed scraps and fragments of answers from other people). The elect prefer the long-term relationship with Father Himself, developed over time through study and through putting your hard questions into His hands and trusting Him for the answers as you continue to study daily.
And in that you have the difference between the five foolish virgins and the five wise virgins of Matthew 25. Just something to think about.
Let me recommend the following two Bible studies for you:
The Holy Spirit and You — explains how to develop that relationship between yourself and the Holy Spirit of truth and understanding, through regular daily Bible study.
Christian “Crumb Snatchers”: Eat From the Whole Loaf — explains the difference between eating from the fragments and eating from the “whole loaf,” which is to say, depending on others to answer your questions for you versus going straight to the source and allowing Father to answer in His perfect timing.
I believe those two studies will help you immensely in your question to establish that connection with your heavenly Father through His Holy Spirit of truth.
Regards in Christ,
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