I’m not just saying it because it sounds like a good thing to say. I mean, the Lord is impressing on me that someone right now really needs to hear that God hears you and an answer is on its way. I don’t know if its the same person but someone needs to hear that God can be trusted. He will do what He says He will do.
I’m not an expert. I am not a theologian. I am not a bible scholar. I’m an old lady who has been walking with God since I was child. And all I know is that God is faithful. People can and do, let us down. It may not be on purpose, but it happens. When we put our faith and expectation in human beings we are putting our trust in something fallible. We all fail. We fail because we are human. No one can be everything we need them to be every time we need them.
I’ve been communing with God since I was about seven years old. Never you mind how long that’s been. Okay 54 years. Maybe it’s because this whole talking to God thing started when I was too young to know any differently, but I’m pretty comfortable talking to God. I’m also pretty comfortable hearing Him talk to me. When you are a kid, especially a young kid you don’t talk to your friend like you’re writing a poem in Elizabethan English, with a bunch of Thee’s Thou’s and Tho’s. Like any other seven year old, you cry “DADDY HELP!” And Daddy comes running, scoops you up and comforts your tears. Sometimes it’s “Daddy, look what I did.” or “Hey, Jesus, what do you think of…..?”
I didn’t grow up in a religious household. My mother didn’t get saved until I was in high school. Grandpa was a Christian with Catholic ties but I wouldn’t say he was religious. He taught my brother and I to pray the Our Father, or what Protestants call, the Lord’s Prayer. He taught me to kneel and bow my head. But he also taught me that prayer comes with reward. Chocolate to be precise. One square of Hershey’s chocolate (plain or peanut- Grandpa had both). Faithfully every night before bed we would stop in Grandpa’s room for prayer. Prayer and well, of course, chocolate.
The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” He was trying to get the point across that we are to mature in spiritual matters. Yet, Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” [Mark 10:15] So, which is it? Am I to mature in spiritual matters and put away childish things or am I to become childlike?
I would love to be able to go into Grandpa’s room and see his smile one more time. I would love to hear his voice as we recite our prayer in unison. But I can’t. Grandpa died in 2011. Mom died in 2013. And Dad passed a couple of months ago. I’m not a child anymore. I’m a 61 year old, old lady. Please don’t correct me. I am definitely an old lady. I like being an old lady. No I don’t like achy joints and walking with a bit of limp but I’ve waited my whole life to be this old. A lot has changed over the years. But one thing hasn’t. I still talk with Jesus. I don’t treat myself to chocolate when I get done praying. That’s actually a really good idea though. I think I might start doing that again. Actually, I can’t. If I have even one square of chocolate before bedtime I’ll be up all night from the caffeine. It’s still a great idea.
I can’t get on my knees anymore. My knees can’t handle that anymore. But I do still talk to God. And you know what? In all these years I can’t recall a time when He wasn’t there at the other end of the conversation. Oh, there have been times I wasn’t fully aware of His presence. There were times when it seemed like the heaven’s were brass. But when I look back I can honestly say that every time I prayed God answered. It may not have been in that moment but sooner or later the answer came.
When I was young and learning how to trust Him answers seemed to come relatively quickly. I remember the first time I prayed and the answer didn’t come right away. I thought maybe God was mad at me, or maybe I had done something wrong. And OMG it was a whole week before I got a reply to my request. I thought for sure God was never going to speak to me again. Of course, I hadn’t done anything. When God finally answered I was so grateful and relieved. I learned over time to be patient. Seven year olds don’t have much patience. I had to grow in patience. I had to put away my childish impatience and irrational fear and trust that God heard and because He loves me He will reply. And you know what sooner or later He always did.
I remember when I was about seventeen I was getting ready to go shopping at the mall and went in my room to get my jacket. Just as I opened my closet door God spoke to me. As clearly as my earthly father, I heard my heavenly Father’s voice. “Betty, do you trust me?” It must have touched a place in me that I was unaware of, because I felt something hit my heart. I angrily blurted out a response. “I’ve never had anyone I could trust.” These are just words now, but in that moment they were loaded with emotion and deep pain. God didn’t get offended with my reply. He didn’t reprimand me. He didn’t rebuke me. He very quietly and affectionately said, “I’m going to show you that I can be trusted.” That was it. I didn’t get a three point sermon, or a lengthy lecture. Short, sweet and to the point. Powerful and penetrating. I waited a moment to see if there was anything else. There wasn’t. I grabbed my jacket and went to the mall.
I’ve been through some pretty rough stuff over the years. Through it all God taught me something. He taught me that He could be trusted. He proved His trust to me. You might think God doesn’t need to prove Himself to anyone. God didn’t owe me an explanation. But God knew that the place inside of me where trust resides had been seriously damaged. I was young. I was naive. I was inexperienced in life. I had a lot to learn. I learned the hard way that people can’t always be taken at their word. My internal trust sensor was broken. I trusted people that should have never been trusted and didn’t trust others who truly had my back. I learned that along the way. But over time God proved Himself to me. He proved to a very un-trusting teenager that He could be trusted, even if no one else in my life at the time could be.
When I look back on my life one thing stands out as a constant. God always did what He said He would do. He always came through, not on what I expected, but always on what He promised. If God told me He was going to do something in my life I learned that He would follow through. If He said it I could count on Him fulfilling His word. It may not happen by the end of the week. It may not happen how I thought it would. It may take years to roll out. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what God says He will do.
God knows that we are only human. He knows that humanity is capable of error. He knows that we get hurt easily. He made us fragile. I don’t always get it. I don’t know why God didn’t make us bit more sturdy but He didn’t. He made us breakable. I think because He knows how fragile and breakable we are He wants to be there for us in big ways. He will answer our prayers. We don’t have to super eloquent. We don’t have to say everything perfectly. God doesn’t want a politically correct, carefully crafted doctrinal dissertation. He is Daddy. He is Father. He wants our tears. He wants our joys. He wants our ups and our downs. He wants to hear when we are disappointed that we didn’t get that job we applied for. He wants to hear when we are feeling great. He wants conversation. He just wants relationship.
When I was a kid I didn’t pray so that anyone listening might be impressed. I just talked to God the way I would talk to Grandpa. That’s what kids do. Grandpa was not only my Grandfather. He was my friend. He played with me. He talked to me. He didn’t talk down to me. He didn’t demean me. God doesn’t condemn us. He wants us to feel welcome. Just as Grandpa smiled when he saw me in the doorway, God smiles when we come to him. I might forget that at times. I might get all grown up and think if I say this prayer just the right way maybe God will answer. Not hardly. When I become like a child and remember that God is my Friend I am welcomed with open arms. He is my Father. He wants me to come to Him. He wants to share my joys. He wants to wipe away my tears.
Grandpa knew there were times I was only there for the chocolate. God knows too. Sometimes we just need the answer. God’s okay with chocolate being an incentive. Some might not agree with me. That’s okay. Fifty four years of communing with God later I think God was okay with my motivation being chocolate at times. He also knew when I needed a friend to talk to. He was there. When I was lonely. When I was sad. When I was scared. When I was in trouble. When I didn’t know what to do. I came for the chocolate but I learned that God hears, God cares and God will answer. He loves us.
James 5:13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
Psalm 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
Heavenly Father, would you be my friend? Would you reveal yourself to me and show me that you love me. Would you prove yourself to me and teach me how to trust you. Help me to know you. Would you hold my hand and carry me through the difficulties I am facing. Would you show me what to do and give me the answers I need in my life today. In Jesus name. Amen