Psalm 5: 1 – 3, 11 – 12
1 Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my sighing. 2 Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray. 3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you. 12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord
There are times when I feel like God is not listening to me…
I ask for help, for comfort, for things to go differently for myself and my daughter, yet it can sometimes feel feels like these pleas are met by God’s silence…
This can lead me to feel frustrated, and more than a little resentful towards God; however I know that feeling this way is not fair…as when I get angry towards God for “not listening’ I am really acting much like a spoiled child!
When I was a little kid, growing up in New Jersey, I remember going to a big discount store called ‘Two Guys’ with my mother. While she looked at clothes and other sundry items for my family, I made my way to the Toy Department, where I saw a really cool toy ferry boat, complete with a compliment of cars that rolled on and off of the boat! As I examined the toy, I could imagine it floating in the bathtub, riding the waves through the suds, and I knew I must have it for my own!
I grabbed the toy and ran back to my mother and asked her to please get it for me. I begged, I pleaded and I cajoled, and I whined, but she would not give in, and I never did get my toy ferry-boat (but in later years, I did get to ride a real ferry to work every day for years), but I did learn something from this, and it is not that my mother was mean, it is that I do not always get what I want; and in subsequent years I have learned that this can be a good thing, even if I am not always happy about it.
Often when I am talking to God, I am still like that petulant child I was in the department store almost 46 years ago: I want what I want when I want it…and that’s NOW!
And so…even though I may sometimes feel like God is not listening, not answering my prayers, it is really just a case of me not getting what I want! Sometimes God’s answer is not what we expected or wanted, as God often has different ideas about what is best for us.
In this way, God is like us: a loving parent, as can find ourselves saying “no” to our children more than we would like. For instance, many times I have had to listen to my daughter cry and even scream, because she did not get to stay up late, have ice cream for breakfast, did not get the toy she wanted, or (later on) not be able to have a sleep over, go to a concert, or use the car when she wanted. In many of these cases I felt that if she had gotten what she wanted that it would not have been a good thing for her…and could even be dangerous!
As single parents we can often feel like we have to play the ‘heavy’ and make a lot of unpopular decisions, because there is no one else to make them; therefore, we can also take the brunt of our children’s frustration and anger…and be tempted to give in just to keep the peace, even when we know it is not the best thing for our children.
The good news is that God is always listening to our cries for help, and is always available for us when needed. As the Psalm tells us God is our refuge, our support and our protector in times of trouble; or in other words: “our parent” who loves us and watches over us, and seeks only the best for us…even if we do not always like it; just as we do for our children when we sometimes have to make tough choices in order to keep our children safe and on the right track in life.
Making these decisions can be hard on us, and cause us to second guess ourselves; fortunately we have the support of those around us: other parents of every type, our family, friends and all those who can offer us guidance, advice and support…as we act together as Christ in the world, given each other strength and wisdom for our journey, being protector and guide!
And in these gifts of love, support, compassion and understanding, we can let go of our worries and struggles, which can free us to rejoice and to experience the joy of living in the light of God’s gracious love!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for acting as a loving parent to us all: for listening to us, loving us and caring for us. Please help us to never stop talking to you, and to have faith that you are always listening, even if we do not like all the answers we get. Let us accept that you act out of love for us, and as your children, you only want what is best for us! Help us to share our faith with each other and our children, so that we may overcome our worries and embrace the joy of living in the light of your love.