How do you know that God hears you when you call to him? I mean, really hears you?
Over my lifetime, I can count on one hand the number of occasions when God specifically and personally revealed that he does, indeed, listen to my cries:
-- my Hannah-like pleas for a child were answered, after nearly five years, through adoption;
-- my late-night cries for a teenager missing curfew were answered when the child eventually arrived home;
-- my prayers, with others', for a ministry's financial need were answered when a generous check arrived in the mail (and caused us to break out in praise!)
-- my begging howls that God would protect my husband from a health crisis and return me to his side from another continent were answered when I arrived to find him still alive.
In each moment, I sensed God coming near to reassure me that, yes, he is listening. And not just listening but also responding.
Despite these faith-bolstering memories, in much of my daily life, I can still feel unheard as I murmur and struggle and occasionally even whine. When God's silence descends, I turn beyond my own history to review how he has heard his people over generations.
Etched across the millennia are myriad instances of God's ear bending to listen:
-- to Leah's and Rachel's prayers for a child (Genesis 30:17, 22);
-- to Israel, groaning under slavery (Exodus 2:24);
-- to Moses, interceding for his people on Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 9:19);
-- to Joshua, leading a battle at Gilgal (Joshua 10:14);
-- to David, crying out for deliverance from Saul (2 Samuel 22:7).
And onward into the New Testament, where the Word, Jesus, walked this earth and listened in the flesh (John 1:14). Today God's Spirit hears the groans of all of creation as we wait for our ultimate union with him (Romans 8:26-27).
In 1 John 5:14 we read, "If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." The Greek word translated "hears," akouo, means to pay attention and to respond on the basis of having heard. Rather than suggesting a "formula" for ensuring God will grant our prayer requests, John urges us to pray in confidence because God's heart is for us. God hears in a way that is action oriented, and he wants to respond in love. Akouo. God hears.
Specifically, we celebrate the fact that God hears her. Over and over in the Bible, God hears and responds to the needs of women, both named and unnamed. Jesus interacts with woman after woman, offering everlasting water to a disgraced woman at a well, restoring a demon-possessed son to his grief-stricken mother, receiving the spilled-out offering of Mary of Bethany, encouraging Mary Magdalene's broken heart in the first resurrection encounter.
And God hears you! In your daily life may you sense God bending his ear to your heart. God hears. God hears her. And because God hears and hears her, you can know that God hears you.
"Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live." (Psalm 116:2)