Listening: God Listens. God Loves.

God listens. God loves. They’re one in the same to Him.

He hears his children and answers them. That’s hard to grasp, that our cries are heard. Our pleading. Our whispered prayers. Even though He knows our thoughts, God loves to hear us call on Him.

I asked God to forgive my sins and received His gift of everlasting life. It delighted Him to hear me calling for Him to save me. He had been calling me all my life.

I was hit by a car when I went for a run. I could have been killed if things would have played out a bit differently.

I could have died before receiving eternal life through Jesus, but God heard the many people who prayed for me and showed me mercy.

I moved from the Midwest to California. I knew I’d come into a relationship with God. I had some friends through work and a few at my apartment complex, but I couldn’t get very close to people. I had an eating disorder. Eating disorders are very possessive—they don’t like to share.  So I spent a lot of time alone.

Even when I was with people I was alone.

So I asked God to give me someone I could really talk to. I had a long-distance relationship. I got brave and told my boyfriend about my eating disorder. He never called again.

Then I really was alone. I talked with my sisters who were Christians. They kept encouraging me. And I know they were praying for me. Every time I fell down and gave in to the eating disorder, I felt ashamed, like I’d let God down. I prayed that I would be set free.

“Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?”
—Psalm 10:1    NIV

In my heart, I sensed that He wasn’t standing far off. It was I who was hiding from Him.

I asked God to bring me together with someone who knew what it meant to know him. Even though I didn’t think I deserved it, and wondered if they would reject me.

“But You, O God, do see trouble and grief;
You consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless.”
—Psalm 10:14    NIV

I knew trouble. I knew grief. I was a victim. I was fatherless.

I asked God to bring me someone to listen and comfort and save me from the sadness and the shame.

I moved to another town. I was alone. But not for long. God dumped me into a party of a couple dozen kids my age who were alive like no other kids I’d known. They were desperate to know more of Jesus. And they were incredibly kind to me.

The eating disorder got in the way. My sadness got in the way. So I still had times of feeling alone. During those times God sent very special people to help me understand what it meant to be loved by God, unconditionally.

And God showed me again and again that He was listening.

I began to spend time in the Psalms. God showed me His heart. And I entrusted more and more of mine to Him.

During that time, one word kept jumping out from the Psalms: Lovingkindness.
God’s never failing kindness and mercy and tenderness. I turned to the Psalms early in the morning and late at night.

I wrinkled the pages with my tears.

God came near and heard my cries. God came near and covered my shame.
God listened to this broken girl. God held this broken vessel.

He heard. He loved. And He healed.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
—Psalm 36:7  NASB

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