I am the first to admit that listening is not my natural gift. I have to work hard at it, a lot! Perhaps that is why the short and sweet verse of Jeremiah 29:12 comforts me so. Jeremiah 29:11 may consistently top the list of pillows, graphics, and cards, but read on for the promise of verse 12. In this Old Testament setting, the prophet Jeremiah is in chains and entering captivity. The Lord spoke hope to him as he walked among the spirit-crushed, enslaved Israelites, making a covenant with him even in the midst of deep despair. He first spoke of the future, partnering with him in the rebuilding of Israel and letting him know of the legacy his life would become. That had to give Jeremiah a boost of endurance. In my mind, I see the Lord reaching down to touch him on the shoulder as He spoke these words:
“In those days,” he said of the desperation ahead, “when you pray, I will listen.”
(Jer 29:12 NLT).
“You PRAY. I will LISTEN.” This beautiful bond with the Faithful God will take you through the days and decades with absolute assurance of His intimate love. He cherishes the voice of His children as they sigh in pain, sing praise and thanksgiving, ask questions that have no answers, and pray earnestly for those they love.
Can you think of a more unused word in our current culture than “listen”? Oh, I don’t mean I the context of “listen to me.” Think about it. Husbands and wives; parents and children; co-workers and employers; teachers and students. I even have to tell my dog “no” at least twice! There is just not much of “I will listen” in our world. But in the third heaven, where the throne of God reigns, there is no end to the patience of our beloved Savior. His listening is intentional and powerful. If you pour out your heart to Him, the Holy Spirit will pour wisdom, comfort, and endurance back to you, just as He did for Jeremiah.
And, by the way, would we even be talking about Jeremiah if everything in his life was perfect? No way! We want to know about faithful people who endure, and we want to be one of them.
We are women of the Good Report, remember?
TODAY lift up your voice with joy, whisper through the pain, sing with praise and gratitude, and groan your intercession. He is never too busy or too tired. He longs to hear it all! And you will know that no matter who else does or doesn’t listen to you, the Great God of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega Who is never defeated, has cupped His ear, leaned out of heaven, and rejoiced to hear your voice “when you pray…”
Always Expect Amazing…
Diane Strack, Founder and President of She Loves Out Loud!
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P.S. – I run my blog by my sisters before sending it out. This is what #2 sister (there are 5 of us) sent back just as I was about to post: “After I gave my life to Christ, I went through some really hard times. One night you prayed with me and wrote out these verses. You underlined ‘I will listen,’ and told me that God always has a plan. It is still on my bulletin board 35 years later. Post it!”