I called him but he did not answer. (Song of Songs 5: 6)
Once the Lord has given us great faith, He has been known to test it with long delays. He has allowed His servants’ voices to echo in their ears, as if their prayers were rebounding from a contemptuous sky. Believers have knocked at the heavenly gate, but it has remained immovable, as though its hinges had rusted. And like Jeremiah, they have cried, “You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through” (Lam. 3: 44).
True saints of God have endured lengthy times of patient waiting with no reply, not because their prayers were prayed without intensity, nor because God did not accept their pleas. They were required to wait because it pleased Him who is sovereign and who gives “according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2: 13). And if it pleases Him to cause our patience to be exercised, should He not do as He desires with His own?
No prayer is ever lost, or any prayer ever breathed in vain. There is no such thing as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and some things we see as refusals or denials are simply delays.
Christ sometimes delays His help so He may test our faith and energize our prayers. Our boat may be tossed by the waves while He continues to sleep, but He will awake before it sinks. He sleeps but He never oversleeps, for He is never too late.
Be still, sad soul! lift up no passionate cry,
But spread the desert of your being bare
To the full searching of the All-seeing eye;
Wait! and through dark misgiving, deep despair,
God will come down in pity, and fill the dry
Dead place with light, and life, and springlike air.
~John Campbell Shairp
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim. Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 267). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.