“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.” – Psalm 17:6 ESV
Do you ever find yourself wondering, “Is anyone even listening to me!?” I do. Sometimes it seems like my words are only falling on deaf ears. We all joke that some us have “selective hearing”–a condition in which an individual only hears what he/she wants to hear and tunes everything else out. You may be convinced that your children, friends, or spouse suffer from this condition! It can be frustrating, even discouraging when it seems like no one around you is listening. That is why I am amazed by something that happened me while on vacation this summer–a gentle reminding that God does not have “selective hearing.” He is listening.
While vacationing in the Outer Banks, my dad took my son and his cousin fishing on the beach. It was Jack’s first fishing trip. He was excited to get out on the beach and catch buckets of fish! I woke him very early that Tuesday morning and sent him out on his way. I needed at least one cup of coffee before I came out to the beach. So, after one very large cup, I headed down to the surf to see how the boys were doing. While my son was enjoying running and splashing through the surf, he had yet to catch a fish. This left him a bit grumpy. (Any parent can tell you, a grumpy child is not always a pleasant child to be around.)
After a bit, my dad ask me to walk back and get a few things. As I made my way over the worn, sandy boardwalk and back to the condo, I prayed for my son. I prayed that God would comfort Jack with His Spirit of love, joy, and peace. And I made one last request, maybe it was silly, but I prayed that Jack would catch a fish.
I grabbed what I needed from the condo and headed back to the beach. When I got back, my dad was helping Jack cast his line back in the surf one last time. Jack’s mood hadn’t improved much. So, while his line was out, I tried convincing him that sometimes you just don’t catch any fish when you go fishing. But, his heart was set catching a fish! As my dad helped to reel Jack’s line back in, his cousin started cheering, “Fish, Fish, Fish!” There it was: a flounder, wiggling and flapping from the hook! In that moment all of us, my dad, myself, my son, my nephew experienced joy. We laughed. We smiled. My dad removed the funny-looking fish from the hook and snapped a picture of the boys with the Catch-of-the-Day. I couldn’t believe it. God had answered my silly prayer for Jack to catch a fish! Why?! Then in a sweet whisper, His Spirit reminded me, because He loves me! He loves Jack! He loves for me to talk to Him! God loves to remind us that He is always with us. He is always listening. Sometimes He reminds us with a rainbow stretched across the sky. And sometimes, it’s with a funny looking fish at the end of a young boys fishing pole.
In Psalm 17, David prayed for God to incline His ear to him. I love the image God leaning into to hear us! That’s how much He loves us. He’s leaning in to hear what we might say. Will you talk with Him today?