THE GREATEST LISTENER

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Psalm 116:2  says “Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” 
To call on the Lord is easier said than done, because, let’s be honest, we are often too full of ourselves. Our fallen nature seeped in pride prevents us from asking for help even when we need one because it makes us feel helpless or weak. We often think that asking for help is equivalent to defeat, be it from our fellows or, even from God. This habit, sadly, is proof that we are inclined to believe the Devil’s lies (John 8:44) rather than trust God at His Word (Numbers 29:13 ; Titus 1:2 ; Hebrews 6:18).
God knows we have a deep need for Him (Psalm 42:1 & 2, 63:1, 73:25, 119: 20 & 81, 143:6). He knows that we are incomplete without Him – our soul finds no rest until it rests in Him! And that is why, through His Son, He has taken great and painful measures for us to be able to approach His Throne of Grace in our time of need and desperation (Hebrews 4:16)!

 

Basically, Christians are suppose to live by the Bible. Even so, majority of Christians don’t read their Bibles regularly and thus their idea of why and for what purpose we exist tend to get skewed; they tend to believe that human beings are at the pinnacle in God’s grand scheme and design of things when the truth is that God’s glory is at the pinnacle of all things that were and are to come (Isaiah 43:7)! Our lack of understanding Biblical truth often lead us to believe that God exists to cater to our whimsical desires, pleasure, wellbeing, health, wealth and any other form of prosperity our evil minds could conjure up. What we need to understand, instead, is that He created us for His pleasure; He created us for Himself. We exist for Him; for His glory and to glorify Him.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 ;  Isaiah 44:21 ; Colossians 1:16 ; Ecclesiastes 12:13 ; Romans 11:16) 

 

Despite Christ’s clear instruction in Luke 9:23 where He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”, many ignorant Christians are literally hell-bent on thinking that the myriad of predicaments, hardships, disappointments and sufferings of our lives are somewhat cosmically oriented just to make us miserable and unhappy. And the most blasphemous of all the ideas we have about God is what I’d like to call the two-headed snake. The two-headed snake represents the two extremes of how we think of God. On one extreme, we think God is somewhere up in Heaven sitting on His high throne with an iron sceptre, ruling over us with an impersonal high hand, doling out mercy because He’s an angry God who makes sure that we are punished for every sin we’ve committed. We made Him out to be a god who doesn’t seem to care about our miseries and the great deal of suffering we have to endure. We often think that He seems to take delight in punishing us.
On the other extreme, we think that God is so passively loving and merciful that He will let us slide even though we continue to act sinfully in contradiction to His Word. The idea that He would grant us grace and mercy to save us in the nick of time before we die despite thinking and living consistently against His Will, comes from the father of lies – the Devil. Consciously and wilfully choosing to indulges in worldly passion and pleasures whenever apportunity comes knocking conveniently and at the same time expecting God to forcefully rescue us from our wordly engagements is nothing short of walking on the path that leads straight to Hell (Hebrews 6:4-6 & 10:26). 
We may not realise it, but with that kind of mindset, we have inadvertently created a mere caricature of the Most High and Holy God in our own limited, lustful and prideful imaginations. We may have been deceiving ourselves all along by letting ourselves to believe that we worship the One True and Most Holy God when instead, we worship a god whom we’ve created in convenience in our minds. And that is exactly where the problem is; to be precise, where every problem arises in the minds of well-meaning Christians. This is why we can never stress enough the importance of having a good biblical foundation in our Christian walk!
It is also necessary for us to let the Holy Spirit soften our hearts of stone for the truth to pass through our thick skulls that God doesn’t need us! He doesn’t need us to serve Him (Acts 17:25). We will never add anything to His might, wonder and holiness by anything we can possibly do. Neither can we add anything to His glory nor do anything to take away His glory. He is self sufficient (1 Peter 4:11). He is our Creator and we are the created. He is the cause of all things. He is not dependent of anything because He is self-existent. He has no beginning and no end because He is the beginning and the end (Revelations 22:13)! He is perfect. We have to understand that we are limited while He is limitless. That we are finite beings while He is an infinite being. That we are sinful (Psalm 51:5 ; Ecclesiastes 7:20 ; Romans 3: 10-11 & 23) while He is Holy, Holy, Holy (Revelations 4: 8 & 11 ; Isaiah 6:3 ; 1 Peter 1:16)!  The main reason why we made Him up rather than strive to know Him for who He is, is that we don’t want to humble ourselves (Psalm 10:4 ; Jeremiah 17:9 ;  Ezekiel 36:22)! Oh Pride! We don’t want to serve Him (Luke 6:46), we don’t want to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23) and we are unwilling to be subservient to His Will (James 4:7). And so we have created a god of our own liking based on our experiences, feelings and understanding (Exodus 32 ; Proverbs 3:5)!

With that kind of presumption about God’s nature, it is no wonder that we often find ourselves to not ‘feel’ Him turning His ear to us when we call on Him. But His Word says He does. And since He is not like a shifting shadow (James 1:17 ; Malachi 3:6), He fulfills His Promise (Numbers 23:19) which by the way, is something He is by no means obligated to do at all because He is who He is (Exodus 3:14 ; Matthew 5:45)  and He will have mercy on whom he has mercy (Romans 9:15). But because He is good and faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24 ; 1 Corinthians 1:8-9 ; 2 Timothy 2:13), compassionate (Psalm 86:15) and our Father (2 Corinthians 6:18 ; 1 John 1:12) who loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), He made us the recipients of His promises which He keeps. So we have to take Him at His Word because He never lies. The good thing about being grounded in the truth of His word which said “He turned His ear to us when we call Him”, is that we depend on KNOWING who He is and that He will act in love, as always, for our good and for His glory (Romans 8:28). On the other hand, the worst thing about depending on our feelings is that our feelings are deceptive, inconsistent and temporary in nature and is based on our experience with our environment and our regretful past and also our apprehension about the future. The problem, in reality, is rooted in our sense of entitlement; we think God owes us. In truth, God owes us nothing and He is not obligated in anyway to do anything for us (Romans 11:34-36 ; Psalm 24:1 ; Haggai 2:8 ; 1 Chronicles 29:11 ; Matthew 5:45). On the contrary, we owe him everything (Psalm 139: 1-17 ; Philippians 2:13 ; John 19:30).

 

Our sinful nature restrain us from calling out to Him because we are first required to learn humility. But instead of learning to obey and trust Him in humility, we’d rather He tend to us without us needing to call on to Him, which He did, by the way, in His Sovereign Grace and Mercy through His beloved Son. His grace and mercy are evident in the truth that while none of us seek Him, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 8:5; Romans 3:10-12). The Christ – the Son of God, humbled Himself in obedience to the Father (Philippians 2:8) so we don’t end up writhing in Hell for all eternity when the finality of His justice are met.
It is therefore, essential for us to learn to wrap our minds around the fact that God actually turn His ear to give us His Almighty attention when we call Him. You? Me? Who are we but mere mortals and wretched sinners who knows not how to please Him nor do we instinctively incline ourselves towards Him! Now, take a moment to let this sink in: That He not only hears our call, He listens. He actually listens. I find that divinely comforting and it is also the very reason why I take the pain to talk to Him; baring my wickedness and forcing myself to be vulnerable and authentic time and again. Why, you ask? Well, have you ever been in a conversation in a group or have you ever found yourself talking to someone for a few minutes and then urgently found yourself needing to slowly end your sentence because your listeners were getting distracted and no longer listening to you? I cannot quite name the feeling that ensued from that kind of experience; is it disappointment? embarrassment? But what I am quite sure about is that it does not feel good, at all. That kind of experience makes even the best of us question our credibility and our relevance, for a few seconds atleast. Now, imagine that same setting and experience happening to someone struggling with mental health problems: it most probably has the potential to make them feel worse about themselves. It brought them shame and guilt too often. That too, amidst familiar people.

 

But, God! But God is not like that. He listens and listens until we have nothing left to say, until we have poured ourselves out completely in brokenness. Our brokenness is also when we’ve come to the end of ourselves and are made ready to listen closely to Him (Isaiah 30:21). He didn’t have to force us to listen to Him, His listening makes us listen to Him. You see, He has to do everything first in His overflowing grace and mercy, only then do we learn to submit to Him (1 John 4:19 ; Philippians 2:13).
Therefore, as long as we live we’ll call on the Lord because HE LISTENS and He makes us LISTEN to Him by listening to us first. No human has the capability to listen without reaction or interruption or chastisement or hurried judgment or being impetuously contemptuous or without getting visibly bored or showing blatant impatience. He is never tired, He never sleeps and He never stops working so He listens to us without any distraction or limitations. If only we would communicate and talk to Him (Isaiah 40:28 ; Psalm 121:4 ; John 5:17)! He understands even when words fail us so He caused His Spirit to moan on our behalf (Hebrew 4:15 ; Romans 8:26-27). If by now we are still unable to grasp how much our Lord loves to listen to us, I don’t know what else will.
Let’s pour ourselves out to Him (Psalm 62:8 ; 142:2). Let’s make sure to let our pride and guard down, approach Him and submit to Him who always have good intentions for us (Psalm 100:5).

 

Now, when we listen to God because we know that He listens to us, it can only mean one thing: That our relationship with Him is personal. To be in a personal fellowship with the LORD is the highest spiritual transcendence you can ever imagine! I chose to call it ‘spiritual trancendance’ because people are very spiritual these days. Many who call themselves Christians are seeking spirituality that has nothing to do with Biblical spirituality (Acts 13:10-11 ; Acts 8:18-23). A personal communion resulting from a commitment to God who is Spirit and Truth is nothing but a spiritual transcendence the whole world is after; a desire that eludes even the most spiritual of the world’s people because they searched for Him with a mind that is presumptuous of His Nature or through other means that is contradictory to the prescribed way in His Word (Acts 2:21 & 38; Galatians 5:22-23 ; Colossians 3:13 ; Matthew 5:44-48). But suffering Christians like me and you understand that this spiritual transcendence is possible through one way and one way only: The Lord Jesus Christ.
(John 14:6 ; Acts 3:16 ; Acts 4:10 ; Isaiah 43:11)

 

For those of us who have grown in the Spirit, we know that nothing can compare to that personal fellowship we have with the Lord. Everything else lacks appeal, meaning and beauty in comparison (Psalm 34:8). We go on to learn to loosen our attachment with the world as our sanctification progressed and we wouldn’t want to have it any other way. We learn to submit our will to His Will (Luke 22:42), sometimes with plenty of pain and suffering, as He continue “to smash our idols one by one” as one preacher aptly put it. We continue to go through hardship and suffering yet remain joyful (James 1:2-4). We face fiery trials and maddening temptations yet remain not only faithful but also victorious in Him (1 Corinthians 10:13). We have also learnt to boast of our weaknesses, and rejoice in our suffering (1 Corinthians 12:9-10) because we know that all of our sufferings have several purposes – to make us grow spiritually; in goodness, in the knowledge of God, in self control, in perseverance, in mutual affection and in love (Romans 5:3-4 ; 2 Peter 1:5-8). In Christ, we have found the meaning in our suffering and so our hope continue to surge forward to the place in our Father’s house that our Saviour has prepared for us (John 4:14 and 14:2).

 

Romans 10:13 assured us that everyone who called on the name of the Lord will be saved. The question that remain is not only “Do we really have the desire for our souls to be saved?” but also “Do we want to humble ourselves in order to be saved and continue to be humbled so as to be sanctified through and through, and time and time again?”

 

Last but not the least, we must understand that only humble people can call on the Lord when they need help. And since the Lord shows great interests in humble people (Psalm 10:17), may we learn humility as the Holy Spirit lead us into conviction (John 16:13 ; Acts 11:12). May we no longer delay to call on the Lord who listens – the Lord whose name is a strong tower, where the righteous run to and are saved (Proverbs 18:10). 

 

– Chingngaihlian Tunglut 
December 17, 2021/ Article in English – 04

(For comments and queries concerning this article, please contact the writer at +91 9892316430)

Chingngaihlian Tunglut
WRITTEN BY

Chingngaihlian Tunglut

She is one of our co-founder and our in-house counsellor. She does freelance counselling in church and community. She is also involved as a counsellor at Bombay YMCA Counselling Centre, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai.

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