God hears everything I say. And I’m a little embarrassed. All my complaints. Every bitter remark. Each selfish lament. He heard me say that? Cue the red cheeks and regret.
But there’s also comfort: “Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live” (Psalm 116:2). In a world of ads, texts, tweets, Facebook posts, junk mail, e-mail – God’s undivided attention means something. My words are heard through the din, and they are valued by the God who spoke light, sound, color, and life itself into existence. Incredible!
Here’s what I know. God never shames anyone for honesty. He invites our uncensored thoughts and feelings at the foot of the cross. He is trustworthy, and he can handle whatever we share, no matter how insignificant. Or heinous. God can’t be shocked. His understanding is too deep and his patience too abundant for that.
In John 11, Jesus finds himself besieged by the mounting stress of Lazarus’s death, the disciples’ doubts, impending execution. Jesus prays, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me” (verses 41-42a). Jesus doesn’t hide his feelings. Instead, he shares perfect intimacy with God, opening up his entire experience in prayer.
God invites us into that same freedom.
So why don’t we feel free? It’s because there’s a caveat. We have to grant God the liberty to speak honestly to us as well. And God doesn’t always tell us what we want to hear. But we’ll never live freely until we allow God the freedom to get real with us. We have to give God the same undivided attention he lavishes on us. His devotion to our every word is a privilege, but the gift of freedom comes in listening for what God has to say in response.