GPS: November 3

By November 3, 2014Devotional

Today’s Scripture:

Psalm 5:1-3

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
    give heed to my sighing.
 Listen to the sound of my cry,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
    in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

Food For Thought:

In this Psalm, the Psalmist talks about crying out to God. Sometimes we want to cry out to God and know that God is listening. Sometimes we cry out to God and God answers us and doesn’t give us the answer we want, so we feel unheard. Sometimes we cry out to God and we feel that God is being silent or the answer is no, so we feel unheard. Throughout my ministry, I have heard people ask this same question, “I cried out to God and I’m not getting an answer. Do you think that God gives us answers to our problems?” Whenever I am asked this question, I always try to encourage the person to consider that if we all cry out to God and we are crying out at the same time, how can God answer all of us? I have two kids, so I have a different perspective on this theological question today than I did prior to having children. For those of you who are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or teachers ― or have any kind of interaction with children ― you will understand what I am saying in a moment. On a daily basis, my girls will cry out to me. Most of the time, it will involve a toy, a request (snack or drink) or attention. They will both cry out to me at the same time. “Mom, Georgia took my toy and I want it back.” The other kid will cry out because the toy has been taken. They are both crying out at the same time and there is no way I can handle both of their requests. I want to address the issue fairly, but I was standing in the other room so I didn’t see how the situation went down. Then I think of how many people cry out to God on a daily basis. There are over 7.125 billion people on the face of the earth. People are crying out on a daily basis and crying for different things and some of these things that they are crying out for are all wrong, so how can God possibly address every single request. What kind of God do we worship if we believe that God is going to address every single request that we make. When I was newer to my faith, I asked for a lot of silly things from God. Because God is the perfect parent, I think God sometimes says, “No way is that going to happen. That is a horrible idea.” I also think that God sometimes replies with silence, because that is the appropriate response. At other times, God replies with, “We will have to wait and see.” One of my favorite books about this theological conundrum is When God is Silent by Barbara Brown Taylor. In this book, Barbara Brown Taylor makes this statement, “Silence has become God’s final defense against our idolatry. By limiting our speech, God gets some relief from our descriptive assaults. By hiding inside a veil of glory, God deflects our attempts at control by withdrawing into silence, knowing that nothing gets to us like the failure of our speech. When we run out of words, then and perhaps only then can God be God. When we have eaten our own words until we are sick of them, when nothing we can tell ourselves makes a dent in our hunger, when we are prepared to surrender the very Word that brought us into being in hopes of hearing it spoken again ― then, at last, we are ready to worship God.”

Prayer:

Gracious God, help us to listen for your voice, 
and to speak your prophetic word 
in a world that does not want to hear.  Guide us by your Spirit, 
grant us the courage we need 
to journey, trust, listen, speak, 
and accept your commission
to be your faithful servants. In your sacred name we pray, Amen.  

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