In John 11, I am certain that the name Lazarus had been cried forth multiple times by people who loved him dearly, but he never heard them because he was dead. He wasn't ignoring them, he was just dead. It didn't happen all at once and neither without prayers and pleas for divine intervention. It didn't happen because God didn't love Him or because his family and friends could have done more and didn't.
This story is unique to John's Account of the Gospel and as usual in John's account, any doubt that Jesus is fully God is dispelled. Mary and Martha knew that Jesus could heal the sick. In fact, Mary meets Jesus when He finally arrives on the scene and declares her confidence that if only He had made it sooner then Lazarus would still be alive.
Most know that Jesus later raised Lazarus from the dead, proving the ole saying that "He may not come when you call Him but He will always be on time." But, it proves more than that... much more. Here we find the assurance that when we have prodigal children, wayward loved ones, face impossible situations, have completed the divorce proceedings, finished the chemo - you know, the "too far gone stuff" that suffocates all of the hope out of you, that the hand of God is not shortened. With God, there is no "too far gone stuff"... or people.
That person you love so much may not be ignoring you when you call, write, message, or even plead. He or she may be dead. Too deep in the darkness to see and to far away to hear. Now is when we must pray that he or she will hear God. When Jesus called out to Lazarus, His voice plumbed the depths of the grave itself.
Dead is as bad as it gets, but God can put life where death emptied a decaying body that refuses to respond to our most passionate pleas.
So, if you are losing hope, remember. Even the dead can hear the voice of God.
Pastor Mike Snelgrove