GOD OF THE OPEN EAR
It was the year that Jacob and many of his friends turned 18 which, of course, meant it was the year of the 18th birthday parties. Those coming-of-age celebrations that are enough to make parents break out in a sweat sending their child to a party, knowing some enthusiastic party-goers would choose to over-indulge in alcohol.
One night, early in that year, Jake was heading to a party of a class-mate, and we knew there was going to be a quantity of alcohol there. We trusted Jake… but could we trust all the party-goers who would be there, many whom we didn’t know? Umm, perhaps not so much. So before he left, we reminded him that if at any time during the party he felt unsafe or needed to come home, he could text or phone us and we would come and get him.
It was a parenting choice we made for both Jake and Brooke. We were always prepared to go and get them if they needed us, they simply had to call or text. (Of course, later that year as Jake headed off to the East Coast with mates for a camping trip and I made the same offer, I desperately hoped he wouldn’t need to avail himself of it!)
But I digress! Back to the aforementioned 18th birthday party. As we reminded Jake of our availability, Brooke was in the same room, listening in. She piped up from the couch, “And Jacob, you know what Mr Boyle says.” Stephen and I looked at her questioningly, not knowing what Mr Boyle (who was leading the youth group at that point in time) had to say on this important topic. “Mr Boyle says that if you ever try to reach your parents and can’t, call him and he’ll come and get you.”
As parents, I can’t tell you how significant and impactful that moment was for us. It was moving to know that our kids had a youth leader who cared enough for them and their well-being to make such an offer. That if for some reason they couldn’t reach us, they still had a safety-line.
All they had to do was call.
As a parent, even now with adult children, I still want them to know our availability to them if and when needed. How much more is the heart of our Heavenly Father towards us? I love that God uses family relationships to describe our relationship with Him. We can call out to God at any time, having confidence that He will hear us.
LORD, SAVE ME!
One day Jesus sent the disciples ahead of him in the boat while he stayed behind to pray. A storm blew up, and Jesus went to the disciples, walking on the water. Peter, ever the impulsive one, said to Jesus, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”
I love that in that moment when he was sinking, Peter didn’t try and make it to shore, he didn’t swim for the boat and trust his fellow disciples to haul him in, but he turned straight to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” Peter knew Jesus, and he also knew that Jesus was the one he could turn to.
And Jesus response?
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31
Note the first word in the sentence. Immediately.
Over and over again through scripture we see people falling into trouble – sometimes through their own choices, sometimes not – and they cry out to God. The Israelites kept falling back into idolatry and immorality. Judgment would come on them, and they would cry out to God for deliverance. God would deliver them. Then they would repeat they cycle.
But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliver for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.
Just as our hearts as parents are towards our children, God’s Father-Heart is towards us. I have book of Puritan prayers which I love, “The Valley of Vision”. One of the prayers that I keep going back to has these opening words, “O God of the open ear.” Our loving God has an open ear.
Of course, we didn’t always give Jake and Brooke what they called out for. That snack just before dinner? Nah. The pony for Christmas? Nope.
God is not a celestial vending machine, pop in a prayer and out comes an answer.
So often I think I know what is best, but God knows what is truly best. I can call to him and trust His goodness, compassion, mercy and grace to answer in a way that is best.
Timothy Keller puts it like this, “God always answers your prayers in precisely the way you want them to be answered if you knew everything He knew.”
I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Why can we have such confidence that God will hear us? It’s not because we have earned that right by our own worthiness or goodness, but because we have Saviour who has paid the price for our sin on the cross. Through Jesus we have forgiveness of sins and His record of righteousness is credited to us, and it is with that confidence we can call out to God with full assurance that He will hear us.
Since then we have a great high priest who had passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confessions. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
What are you facing? What’s going on in your life? In your heart?
Call out to God. Run to the Father. Trust Him to hear you. Just as a loving parent’s ears are attentive to the cry of their children, God’s ear is attentive to your cry.
He is the God of the open ear.
Your Care Team pastor,
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