God is not required to hear us. And the fact that he chooses to hear our voices and hearts should fill us with faith.
There are several reasons why we might not hear when someone calls to us. Perhaps there is something wrong with our ears. My children often wonder if, after decades of performing live music, there is something wrong with their dad’s hearing. Perhaps they are right and my hearing is failing — I prefer to think they are too far away when they are calling.
Or perhaps it is not a physical distance, but a relational one. Consider the social distance between speakers and listeners, such as when a celebrity walking past a crowd believes himself too important to stop and hear the shouts from his fans.
But contrast these reasons why we might not hear with the glorious God of the universe. First, God’s ears never fail. His hearing, after millennia of listening, is not fading. Second, God is never too far away to hear our cries. Though he is high, he regards the lowly (Psalm 138:6). These insights are precious.
Yet the glorious reality of God’s listening becomes clearest to me when I consider how God listens across the social and relational chasm between us. By listening to our words, God graciously creates a link between him and us. This is astonishing!
It is astonishing that our God—infinitely rich and never lacking—crosses the chasm and answers the poor and needy (Psalm 86:1). Our God who is completely righteous hears those who need deliverance and rescue (Psalm 71:2). People can turn to him in prayer in the darkest situations (Psalm 88:2) and the most distressing times (Psalm 102:2). People with failing spirits (Psalm 143:7) who are facing adversaries (Psalm 64:1) and tearful sojourns (Psalm 39:12) can bring their concerns to the Lord.
Scripture tells us that God hears the prayers of the needy (Psalm 69:33) and the cries of the afflicted (Psalm 22:24). God hears at all hours of the day (Psalm 55:17), even in the day of trouble (Psalm 86:7), and even begins answering before our request is fully spoken (Isaiah 65:24). Faith believes that God will hear and answer prayers (Psalm 17:6). This faith provides patience as believers await his answer (Psalm 40:1). Because God has previously brought relief in times of distress, believers call on him again and again (Psalm 4:1).
And while it’s true that God hears and delivers the righteous from their troubles (Psalm 34:17), even undeserving sinners can be sure that God hears their cries for mercy (Psalm 55:1). Because God is gracious, he hears our cries (Psalm 27:7), even to the point that he makes the words of our mouths acceptable in his sight (Psalm 19:14).
So, believer, how would you pray today if knew that God was listening? How would you sing if you knew God could hear?
God’s word tells us to call on him and bring our most difficult and most trying circumstances to his attentive ear. He is listening.
Assistant Professor of Worship and Music
- Grace for our community to know God, to see his face, and glimpse his glory.
- For God to give our students passion and zeal for the flourishing of the church and the reaching of the lost.
- That God would make his grace and love tangible in our community such that sins are confessed and Christ is celebrated as a Savior.