Sometimes praying can feel like standing on the shore of a great lake holding a very heavy rock. “Can I toss this heaviness in there?” we wonder.
Looking out across the surface, painted with the reflection of the heavens above, we cast our stones of cares deep into it’s depths. These stones that hold our heart’s cries are so heavy in our hands. We risk the letting go to sling them through the empty air because we know we cannot hold onto them forever; they weigh us down. And we remember we have a Father who says, cast all your cares on me, because I care for you. (1 Peter 5:7). So we watch it plop through the surface, rippling as it disappears behind the sky. But then sometimes we wonder, “What next?“ We can’t see beneath the surface.
Maybe it would be more reassuring if there was some kind of automated response sent from Heaven’s messaging department that says, “Thank you. Your request is currently being processed and you may expect a reply shortly.” But that’s not how it works, is it?
Have you ever stood there on the shore, holding the weight of your cares and concerns in your hands, wondering if you can really cast them into God’s great waters, fully releasing them and walk away? Or are you more likely to linger, watching and waiting and wondering? …Maybe even picking up another rock to hold. How do we trust that He hears so we can let go?
Our Life Journal readings have taken us through the lives of Joseph and his fathers (the Patriarchs) to the end of Genesis. In Luke, we’ve walked the streets of the holy land with the Son of God as He moves in the miraculous and rewards faith. And as we read, we’ve searched for God; knowing He tucks Himself into His Holy Word where searching hearts will find Him. And deep in the pages of this week’s reading I found a whisper of God’s character peaking through: it told me that God Hears. He hears our whispered prayers, the sorrows of our fears and failures and our hearts’ deepest cries.
Even when there seems to be only silence in response.
Jesus told a parable of a widow who wouldn’t give up seeking justice, coming before the judge day after day. Finally, after many refusals, he gave in just because he was getting worn out with her coming. (Luke 18:1-8) Jesus asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”.
Faith does not give up. Even in the waiting, the suffering, the injustice, faith remembers we have a God who hears the cries of our hearts. And They Move Him.
Don’t believe the lie that “God is so great He must not care about my little things.” Believe the truth: “God is so great He cares about all my little things.”
Every rock. Every stone. Every plop and ripple is impressed and recorded in His heart until the fullness of time comes for our His promises to be fulfilled.
It’s in the waiting that God is working.
Joseph had to wait. When he first told his family his dreams, he was rejected.
The fullness of time had not yet come. So in the pit and in the prison he cried out.
God never fails to hear the cries of our hearts. Usually its in the silence that He’s working quietly in the unseen places, deep down beneath the surface of our lives.
Joseph’s journey was saturated with God’s work in the hidden darkness of his soul. A deep pit, a dark prison, a dangerous person would all someday push him toward a palace and a position. But it took years of waiting.
It can be through the journeys of waiting, marked by silence and darkness, that sometimes we come to see and hear better than we ever did before.
Jesus told a story about a proud Pharisee and a broken Tax Collector. The Pharisee praised his own righteousness, listing the reasons why God would hear him. the Tax Collector poured out his brokenness, knowing he had no reason for God to hear him. The Pharisee was puffed up. The Tax Collector was empty. (Luke 18:9-14) It was the tax collector’s prayer that moved the heart of God.
God embraces the prayers of the broken and the empty with the fullness of His grace.
Jesus reminds us it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Why? Because he is much, much too big.
God is moved by the prayers of the small, the broken, the tired, the hurting. Even (especially) when we feel small, God Hears.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17)
God is crafting a much bigger story than we can imagine. All we see now is the surface, the reflection on our side of the veil. But someday we will see clearly into the hidden depths of God’s grace and know what was happening in the unseen reaches of His plans. Until that day, let’s trust him with every heavy place inside us. Maybe we can embrace being small together and rest in remembering it’s not time yet for us to know and see and understand everything. Maybe together we can cast all those cares -so very heavy in our hearts- out into the lake of God’s goodness and leave them there, knowing somehow they are safe with Him. Our Very Big God.
When we pray, may we pour out our hearts to a God who hears. May we trust Him to do what we cannot yet see and answer in ways we cannot yet hear. Amen.