So when you ask God for guidance or insight into the plan you are to follow in serving Jesus, and you don’t get an answer you understand, what is going on?

Two categories of reason exist: human and spiritual.

Category One – Human
Well, first of all the reason may rest with you. And not all of it is bad so don’t despair!

Reason 1
One reason may be that you are already doing the right thing, so why would God need to tell you that again? People often miss this one because they want, or expect, a call that takes them to a foreign land, or some other more spectacular ministry.

One of our closest friends a number of years ago needed to test God’s will. Even though a world-class chef he thought he wanted to do more ministry. I suggested cooking might be that. Eventually he discovered two things: through cooking he had a fantastic ministry with down and out people; and that just being a chef gave him open doors. He still serves God with the gift and skills of cuisine (and I am glad, selfishly of course).

Reason 2
Another reason is that you don’t like the plan and so you resist it. Maybe it doesn’t reach the height of importance you demand, or maybe the call goes higher than you expected. In any case, the bottom line results in a negative response.

A dear friend received a call. She expected to change the world, and, believe me, the part she lived in needed it! But it didn’t work that way. Fortunately she followed God anyway, and the world changed, not on a grand scale, but one child at a time. No one will ever write a biography of her, I don’t expect, but the angels sing about her I’m sure.

Reason 3
Or the plan may take you to places you are not yet prepared to go, so God waits till you’re ready.

A number of years ago I applied for, completed an interview for, and received an offer for, a ministry in western Canada. As a couple we both agreed this call came from God. At that time we stood in the centre of extreme attacks from many quarters. So on reflecting on the call we decided we could not go so far from the support of family and friends. I (we) said “No” to God. Now God’s mercy can take the breath from our soul in astonishment. God sent us to a different congregation who allowed us to heal and recover. But we have never refused God on that scale again!

Category Two – Supernatural

Humans too easily discount the reality that life as soldiers of the Christ “is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world” (Ephesians 6:12 God’s Word). This constitutes far more than mere words or doctrinal debate.

“During those days I, Daniel, mourned for three whole weeks…[The angel] told me, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. God has heard everything that you said ever since the first day you decided to humble yourself in front of your God so that you could learn to understand things. I have come in response to your prayer. The commander of the Persian kingdom opposed me for 21 days. But then Michael, one of the chief commanders, came to help me because I was left alone with the kings of Persia” (Daniel 10:2, 12-13 God’s Word). In this case God responded immediately to Daniel, but the conditions in the world of spirit delayed the answer for three weeks.

Pray for guidance. Keep working at what you find at hand. Discipline yourself through Bible reading and study to hear God and obey. Persist at your work and prayer. Accept the answer as given. Or if no answer at all comes persist some more in prayer until the war in the air allows for the message of God to break through. No answer, however, can come to a lazy asker or someone who gives up too soon.