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“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Psalm 34:17-19

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His works.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him,
To all who call on Him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him;
He also hears their cry and saves them.”
Psalm 145:17-19

These are two favorite sections out of two of my favorite Psalms. If I had to choose between the two, I’d probably hit the eject button and choose Psalm 107.

Take a moment to remember the presence of God and read those verses again.

(And, if you don’t have a Scripture reading plan at the moment, consider listening and responding to God through Psalm 34107, and 145 for the next several days or weeks.)

There was an older man in his late 70s in one of my men’s groups who would always pray: “Lord, I thank You for being a God who hears and answers prayers.” Simple. True. But, what made it profound to me was the way he would so often tear up and have to regain his composure to continue praying.

I’ve heard him pray this many, many times, and yet it seems that the significance of the reality of a listening and responding God was ever growing in significance. I wondered just how many experiences of God’s nearness and His listening and responding he had experienced just shy of 80 years of life and just shy of 60 years of marriage. The summation of it all seemed to be a simple truth that ran deep into his believing heart.

God is near. God is listening. God is responding.

You and I have His ear. Yes, the God of all the glory displayed in Psalms 34, 107, and 145 is also the One who hears and answers us in those same Psalms. The God of the universe turns to us like someone on a park bench gently pivots to listen—except He sits on the highest throne in the highest court and kingdom. Yes, He is always available to you and me. Let’s take Him up on His offer, shall we?

And, the Lord will hear you and me out. If I say, “Hear me out.” He will. Do you remember Ester’s story? She approached the king to advocate for her people, but to approach the king without being summoned by him was to risk death—that is, unless he extended his scepter to her. Guess what? Through Christ, the scepter is always extended to you and me. When can we come by? Anytime. What can we say or ask for? Anything. How can we say it? Anyway, just tell the honest truth (Ps. 145:18). Let’s take Him up on His offer. Right?

God will also hear us out in the sense of deliverance. He hears us out of and through the various good, bad, and ugly that we face in life. He delivers. He saves. He fulfills. All as the Scriptures above say. But, I bet our stories say it, too. True, His redemptive responses are not always aligned with our expectations, but they always align with His good will for us in ways we often can’t see until hindsight kicks in, even if that ends up being from Heaven’s perspective. And, I know it all has mostly to do with conforming us to the person and work of Jesus in His life, death, empty tomb, and return (Rom. 8:28-29).

Just as the Psalm truthfully (even if we read it with a wince) says: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19) It is bittersweet. I’ve tasted some of that in my life, but I know the ultimate “hear me out” will be when He calls my name on the Last Day. I also know that so much of His deliverance is not only “out of many afflictions” but also “through many afflictions.” Yes, prayer changes things. But, prayer also changes us. Even more, it’s the Lord we’re calling upon that does all the redemptive changing. Either way, let’s take Him up on His offer and watch Him work through it all.

When Jesus hands us a cross to bear in following Him, He also holds a crown to reward us with His other hand, perhaps concealed behind His back like a surprise. He also walks with us every step of the way—walking and talking, listening and responding. He’ll be hearing us out until “His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10)

What do you honestly want to say to the Lord?

What would it sound like to say those things to Him now?

God is near. God is listening. God is responding.