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Monday, January 16, 2012

When God Is Listening

By Bryan McAlister

“...that you would...remember me!”

     Job’s cry (Job 14:13), is not unlike the cry we have heard from souls today, or perhaps have even uttered ourselves. Job’s brief statement reflects the essence of most of our fears and troubles; the desire to be remembered and not forgotten, the hope we will have a meaningful connection in our lives. For many, these connections are present. They come in the form of loving husbands and supportive wives. These connections are found with honorable children and noble parents. We find meaningful connection in the household of God, among God’s family. For many, these are the connections which bring comfort to the soul.
     For many more, these connections are a mere dream, a wish unfilled, a passing thought, left only to ponder and not possess. Perhaps now, in this generation, in this age, in this time, when the news could not be more bleak about finances and the economy, jobs and physical security, now is the time when we speak with the resounding voice of reassurance “Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me; for I am poor and needy” (Psalm 86:1).
     Our studies of recent days have pointed us to the reassurance from God, He is present and ready to help. He is near each of us, if we will seek Him (Acts 17:27). But does He hear us? More than any other author in scripture, the Psalmist uses the phrase, “hear me” when calling, literally crying out to God. This cry is distinct from the petitioner, much more so than prayer. Do not misunderstand, God’s ears are still attentive to prayer (II Chronicles 7:15). He is listening for those hearts who make appeal to Him and come before His throne. Paul’s encouragement was to guard every step of life in prayer (Phil 4:6-7). We see the living example of Jesus relying on prayer in His life (Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12). Yet our cry to God, our calling to Him, our “crying out” to His holy name has a great power and blessing waiting for us.
    “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).
     We read it, but do we believe it? There is much taught and insisted in that great verse of comfort. First, it is insisted that the righteous cry out. Righteousness of the heart and soul must not be overlooked or underestimated.
     “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). Righteousness does not come from our own making or creating. Righteousness for mankind comes only through embracing the righteousness offered to us.
     “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Cor 5:21). Our sinless savior, took on the brunt and punishment for sin as the perfect sacrifice, and in His righteousness we are made whole.
     God’s connection to us is not severed. He has sent His Son as a seal and a promise that we have neither been forgotten or abandoned. His Son now serves as a mediator between God and man, so that when we approach the Lord through Jesus, we have assurance He will hear (John 14:13). Not only will God hear those made righteous by His Son, He will deliver them from “all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17). This is the kind of deliverance only God can provide, the kind which frees the soul from the limitations of the flesh, and points us to the assurance of God’s eternal provision. “I pray and I pray, but I don’t think God is there.” Have you examined your life as in II Corinthians 13:5? Have you “cried out” to the “Most High God” (Psalm 57:2)? God is ready to hear our cry, and answer our call, but there must be the readiness on our part to break our silence, and “cry out” to Him.

- Bryan McAlister preaches for the Centerville church of Christ, in Centerville, TN.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:
http://www.centervillechurchofchrist.org

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