That's the question, isn't it folks? It's the one that gets asked all the time along with "Why does God let bad things happen?" and "Is God there?".
Is God Listening?
That's a question I've thought about a few times in my life but perhaps this is the one time where the question has some serious personal implications.
In the past, when this question came up, there was a moment of hesitation before the word "Yes" came out of my mouth. Of course God is listening... he answers prayer requests every day. He works in the lives of billions on a daily basis sometimes in ways that are hidden, other times in ways that are very blatant.
But I find myself over the last few weeks pondering this question again and instead of the word "Yes" coming from my mouth the words "He is listening... sort of" have replaced "Yes".
This isn't the say I've lost my faith or anything like that-that's not happening. I'm merely questioning the manner in which the Lord listens because it seems to me he's practicing a bit of selective hearing on his part. As the God of all creation, he's entitled to do this (and pretty much anything else) but it does aggravate me.
Over the past few weeks, I've been in prayer on a regular nightly basis over a number of things. My prayers have been about important manners with a friend of mine and the health/well being of all my family (church, immediate, and adopted). I've been in prayer about our country... and you know, at the tail end of all that, I include myself and my many matters of (perceived) need.
Enter the last three days, and watch in awe as the first three matters I pray about are answered. The situation with my friend worked out very well... she got everything she needed to happen and looks to continue to have things work out in her favor (Lord willing). The health of the various types of family is good (and hopefully getting better if things happen as I think they will) and hey, our country might be really screwed up but with a new vice presidential candidate on the scene, maybe the Republicans have a shot at this (maybe?).
So, yes, God does listen.
Except... wait, what about my stuff? Hello?
"I'm sorry, God's not available right now... please leave a message after the beep."
That's what I feel like and, yes, it's quite selfish of me to feel that way. Look, it's not about me in the grand (or small, or tiny, or nonexistent) scheme of things. I get that it's just... well, I don't have the Lord's patience. I'm human, it's a major failing, and I'm a bit aggravated.
Don't get me wrong, I'm way, way pleased that the other prayer requests have been answered (and in a good way!) but why is it that mine seem to go unanswered?
Again, this could just be a matter of God working in the background, doing some hidden stuff I'm not aware of (this is likely). But an active, blatant, thing is what I would like to see. You know, some fireworks? Some explosions? An 80s action movie show of force?
Okay, admittedly, it's a lot to ask and probably isn't going to happen. How about a neon light? How about a blinking billboard?
"God will be with you as soon as possible. Thank you for calling, please hold."
... sure, I can wait. I mean, really... what else have I got to do (nothing)?
So, in conclusion, the Lord does listen, and he does listen to me... it just seems that he's not doing anything as far as my personal prayer requests (you know, the ones strictly about me). It seems that way... I know it's not, but it seems that way.
And I'm aggravated by it.
Which I guess proves that there's still a lot of work on myself.