Exodus 2:23-25 “During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”
How should we think about situations in which prayers to God seemingly go unanswered? When we pray, does God really hear us? And if He hears us, why doesn’t He do something – and do something now?! The Bible tells us that “this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us (1 John 5:14).” As it was meant to do, surely this verse should give us confidence that no matter how things look, God has heard us when we have called out to him. Another thing that should give us confidence is the examples God has given us throughout the scriptures. One such example is given above in the account of Israel’s oppressive slavery in Egypt. We are told that they cried out for help. And then we are told that God heard them, God saw them, and God knew. Later, in His perfect timing, God sent Moses to deliver Israel from Pharaoh’s hand. Although in the interim between Israel’s prayers and Moses’ arrival, it may have looked like their prayers hadn’t been heard, the fact is that God was very involved in every way from the time their prayers were heard until He answered with a mighty deliverance.
The same holds true for any believer that calls upon God. Just like in Israel’s case, God hears our every prayer, God sees our situation very clearly, and God knows all about it. He is not ambivalent and He is not uninvolved. As we are told in Psalm 94:9 “He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?” We can have great confidence, as the children of God that God is well aware of our situation, whatever that might be. And He cares about it, whatever it might be. God has told us with the following incredible words, that He is much nearer to us in our struggles and prayers than we might imagine: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).” This high priest is Jesus, Immanuel, i.e., “God with us.” What an awesome truth to know that just as in the case of the Israelites in Egypt, God knows about our situation. Not only that, God is active in that situation, whether we see that action right now or not. Just like Moses, who was a shepherd as well as Israel’s great savior from Egypt, we have a Greater Shepherd and a Greater Savior than he. May God help us to believe – as well as help us in any unbelief (Mark 9:24) – as we cry out to Him in our times of need. May He help us to realize that He hears, He sees, and He knows, and with that omniscient knowledge, He acts in ways that are perfect ways and in a time that is the perfect time. May he help us to remember His words to us that we are to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).”