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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Hey, you listening, God?

I love the Eternal; for not only does He hear my voice, my pleas for mercy, But He leaned down when I was in trouble and brought His ear close to me. So as long as I have breath, I will call on Him. (Psalm 116:1-2 VOICE)

I just love the word pictures painted in scripture because they are so rich in meaning.  When I am sitting right next to my grandson, he may not talk very loudly because of the proximity we hold to each other, but one thing I do is lean in closer. Why?  I don't want to miss a word and I want to make that connection be very real for him.  Somehow when I lean in closer, the space between us narrows and the "clarity" of what is being said is very apparent. It also gives me a chance to see what he usually has in hands at the moment!  It may be a video game, or a creation crafted from those colorful building blocks, or even a picture he has drawn which tells some story he wants me to know.  It doesn't really matter what is in his hands, I discover it differently when I do more than gaze at it across the room.  In the nearness of us coming together there is an exchange which occurs that somehow is lost if he just called out across the room, "Hey, Grandma!  Look at this!"  Connection isn't just "made", it is "felt" and in turn, it is "appreciated" or "valued".

Imagine you are the small child in the picture - you have something in your hands - and you want to show what it is to the one you hope will appreciate it the most. What do you do next?  Don't you get up close and personal with him?  Our psalmist gives us a vibrant word picture of drawing near to God.  It isn't so much us getting near enough to him that we hear his voice as much as him getting right up close and personal with us, so we know and sense that he hears ours!  In turn, we are also near enough to hear him, but the picture painted for us today is that of us needing to share something with him and him leaning in so close that not a single nuance of what we share is missed. I think we often confuse the picture a little - believing we somehow scoot our way to him - forgetting even the work of "getting close" is possible only because he leans in, drawing near to us.

God can hear us regardless of how softly we speak, or where our words are spoken.  As a matter of fact, he is the only one who actually knows and hears the silence of our heart!  He cares so much about us, though, that he makes this connection even more apparent to us by "leaning down" - coming into our "space" so we sense him, know he is listening, and understand his care over our lives.  In many religions, God is aloof - he isn't near enough to really know he is listening.  Prayers are lifted hour after hour, but do they sense the nearness of the one to whom they are lifted? It is indeed an unfortunate thing to believe we work our way into his presence, somehow "gaining" his ear, and turning his head enough to get his focus for an iota of time.  If the truth be understood, God works his way to us, helping us know we already have his ear, and see with an assurance that his focus is continually toward us!

At times, my BFF will be talking away from her office right next to mine, only to realize I am not answering.  What she does next is very telling.  She gets up and comes around the corner to see why I haven't answered.  What she discovers is that I am not there!  I have slipped out to get water, take a bio-break, or the like.  In just a short period of time, I return, but at that moment when she wanted to share whatever it was she had on her mind I wasn't there.  She usually tells me, "I was talking away, but you weren't there!"  I think we sometimes believe this way about God.  We kind of think he is in "ear-shot", and we are almost afraid we might discover we have been talking into the air, without anyone really listening to us!  Truth:  God isn't ever out of "ear-shot" and when we need him the most, he is leaning in even closer so that we sense his presence with us.  Don't ever think you have to work your way to him - in order to be heard by him or to reveal what is in your hand at the moment.  He is right there already and as we begin to share, he is leaning in because he doesn't want to miss one thing we are about to share - not one thing!  Just sayin!