"I love the Lord because He hears and answers my prayers. Because He bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!"|
- Psalm 116:1-2 NLT
Recently, when I was going through a painful trial, there were times when I desperately needed to talk to someone about it. My husband, Joe, seemed to be the most likely one for me to talk to, but because he was going through the same trial, he was hurting, too. And there were many times when he told me that he just couldn't bear to talk about it. When one of my sisters called to ask me how I was doing, I told her that one of the most difficult aspects of my trial was that I couldn't even talk to Joe about it. Then I heard myself say, "But that's okay, because I've been talking to the Lord about it, and He's the only one who can really help me anyway." That's when I realized just how much I had been relying on God to listen to me, to comfort me, and to bring me through to the victory.
Since I surrendered my life to the Lord, and began pursuing an intimate relationship with Him, I've discovered what a good listener He is. There's nothing we can't talk to Him about. He's not shocked by anything we do or say, because He already knows it all. And He's never too busy to listen to whatever we have to say, no matter how trivial it might seem. When we call on God--day or night--we'll never get His answering machine. His Word promises, "He will listen to the prayers of the destitute, for He is never too busy to heed their requests." (Psalm 102:17 TLB) The Lord won't interrupt us while we're talking, and He won't be quick to criticize us. He won't storm out of the room because of anything we say. He says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you," and He means it. (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV)
One of the things I appreciate most about God is that we can "unload" on Him. In fact, He invites us to come to Him with our problems. His Word says, "Pile your troubles on God's shoulders--He'll carry your load, He'll help you out." (Psalm 55:22 MSG) Not only does this help us to live without crippling fear and worry, but it also helps us to cultivate an intensely personal relationship with Him. The Bible says, "I am radiant with joy because of Your mercy, for You have listened to my troubles and have seen the crisis in my soul." (Psalm 31:7 TLB) Only God can perceive the depth of our anguish, and only He can provide the answers we need in these times of desperation. As we pour out our hearts to Him, He not only listens to us, but He fills us with a fresh sense of hope, and sustains us with an inner peace and joy. Unloading on God also prevents us from dumping our problems on others. I have a neighbor who has a very troubled family. Over the years, they have always run to her with their many problems. She has always tried to be a good listener and comforter, but after many years of being dumped on, she is beginning to suffer with various emotional and physical problems--some of them very serious. It is offensive to God when we bombard others with our problems, and it displeases Him when we fail to make Him our number one choice when we need to unload on someone.
When I was young, and I was hurting in some way, I liked to imagine myself onstage in front of an audience who could see me weeping, and who shared my pain. That way, I didn't feel so alone. Now I no longer have to pretend. I am constantly aware of God's presence in my life, and of His compassion when I'm hurting somehow. His Word says, "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book." (Psalm 56:8 NLT) When we cry, we must never feel as though we are crying alone, or that no one cares. God is very much aware of every hurt and every tear--and He is eager to make His presence and compassion known, if we will simply ask Him to.
My prayer for you today is that the Lord would plant deeply in your heart the profound truth that He is a good listener, and that He should be at the top of your list whenever you need someone to talk to. May the words of the Savior be your own from this day forward--"Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me..." (John 11:41-42 AMP)
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I needed someone to talk to, and I made You my last resort, or I didn't consider You at all. Change my heart and renew my mind so that I'll always turn to You first when I need to "unload," or when I need a compassionate ear. Thank You that as turn to You more and more, I will come to know You as I never have before!
- J. M. Farro