Earlier this week, a friend began telling me a story of something that had happened the day before…..the story was told to me with so many details and so much insight that it took me a minute before I realized that they thought I was hearing the story for the very first time. The truth was, I was literally sitting right next to this person when this exact conversation went down, and they had absolutely no recollection that I already knew everything they were saying.
Because I’m an awkward person (at least I’m aware of it!), I smiled and continued nodding throughout the story, just hoping that they wouldn’t have an aha moment and realize I was totally faking my interest and shock at what I was hearing. I try to be an active and engaged listener, so I played along, even asking a couple questions to show I was really listening.
When the conversation was over, I immediately thought about how nice it was of me to allow them the opportunity to have their moment and not ruin it for them – how kind, thoughtful, and empathetic I was to not tease them about it or to make sure they knew I experienced it too (humble much, Melinda?!). But just as quickly as I was patting myself on the back, I became super convicted about my egotistical moment, because I realized I do the exact same thing to God every single day. I go throughout my day, and when I find time for Him, I catch Him up on everything that has happened and how I’m feeling about it all and where my heart is – as if He doesn’t already know those things.
He wants us to talk to Him and share our hearts, but it’s also important to remember that He knows, even when we don’t or can’t say the words out loud. I don’t have to say that I’m feeling guilty for how short my temper was with my family tonight…..I don’t have to say it because He already knows, but I should say it, to acknowledge that I need His grace and forgiveness to shine through me every day.
Tonight I was reading Psalm 138 and I felt convicted by verse 3 in particular. It simply reads,
“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.”
I’m confident I’ve read David’s words before and had an image of God coming to David’s side when David asked Him to….but the truth is, God was there all along and all it took was David turning away from himself and from his own power and ability, and realizing that He needed to feel God’s presence in his life. As soon as he reached out to God, he felt God’s strength and encouragement overwhelm him.
I have too many days where I try to make it on my own. I can think of times when I’ve fooled myself into thinking that because I wasn’t seeing God immediately in the midst of hurt and in my self-doubt, that He obviously just wasn’t there at all. Not only was He there, but He was just waiting for me to turn to Him.
When you talk to God, do you approach Him with the idea that He’s joining you from far away, and that you need to catch Him up on what’s going on? Are we believing that our prayers are being answered immediately, even when we won’t understand the answer for a long time? If we stop feeling this need to run to God when times get tough, instead of just remembering that He’s already right beside us, we will recognize that He’s making us stronger and preparing our hearts for what is to come. It is not because of our power or our strength that we move through life and through seasons of pain, but it is His strength that makes all of that possible.
“The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.”