I’ve seen something disturbing in recent years. Couples, out together, but not communicating with each other. They’re both communicating, but with someone other than the one they’re with. Walking along, holding hands, each one talking on their mobile phones. Sitting in a cafe, sharing a coffee, but each one busy checking their facebook or sending texts to other people. It’s bizarre. It’s just plain rude! And I feel sheepishly guilty as I say this, because I know I’ve done it too.
It got me thinking that sometimes we treat God the same way. How many times have I sat down to read God’s word only to be distracted by a pressing email, a job that has to be done, a request from the kids, or a random thought that takes me elsewhere? How many times have I begun to pray when I remember something that needs doing, my mind drifts, or I fall asleep? In fact, only today I was praying with friends, when my phone alerted me to some messages… I checked the messages and I quickly forgot we were talking to God.
I suspect it’s also a symptom of God seeming such a long way away. We can’t see him or touch him, and we’re probably not hearing his audible voice. It’s easy to get distracted by the things that invade our senses. We experience the presence of those around us, but we forget about God. God has promised that he is near to all who put their trust in him. We need reminding of his presence and his commitment to us. He desires to speak to us through his Scriptures and to have us listen to him. He wants us to speak to him in prayer and he promises to listen to us. Relationships are about communication, and God wants to communicate with us.
The words of Psalm 145 give us great cause to spend time communicating with God. He’s trustworthy and faithful. He powerful and generous. He provides for our needs. He lifts us up when we’re down. He’s able and willing to satisfy the desires of our hearts. He promises to save all who call on him in honesty and humility, recognising that he alone is God.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.
14 The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever. (Psalm 145:13-21)
The godward person recognises their dependence upon God. We all need God. We need his help. We’ve been created for a relationship with God, not to go it alone. It makes sense that he should be the first one we speak to when we’re in need and the first one we praise when we’re happy.
Is anyone among you in trouble?
Let them pray.
Is anyone happy?
Let them sing songs of praise. (James 5:13)
When trouble and suffering comes our way, let’s remember our loving and powerful God. Let’s pray. We might ask him to remove our suffering. We might ask him to help us persevere through it. We mightn’t know exactly what or how to pray. But let’s turn our hearts and minds godward.
And when things are a delight, when all is happy, when there’s cause to celebrate, let’s not forget our generous Father in heaven who gives all good gifts. Let’s not become proud or conceited, drawing praise to ourselves. Instead, let’s offer praise to God. Let’s rejoice in his mercies. Let’s sing together of the wonders of his love. Let’s grow in godwardness.