Category Archives: Faith Builders

Skyward Words

“Are you listening to me?”  I’ve asked this question hundreds of times throughout my years of teaching and parenting. The response “I heard you” is clearly not the answer for which I was hoping.

There is a definite difference between the two: hearing someone is simply perceiving the sound with your ears; listening takes notice of and acts on what someone says. Very few of us simply want to be heard. We long for someone to listen.

Psalms 116: 1-2 says “I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens. I will pray as long as I have breath!” What an intimate picture this brings to mind. Not only does God hear our prayers, he bends down and listens. He leans into us as we cry out to him. David knew that his God listened because he had answered his prayers over and over.

Somedays my prayers feel like whispers to the sky. I watch them flutter away and wonder where they will land. When I read David’s words in Psalms, I’m encouraged with a clear picture of what happens to those word wisps. God grabs them in his hand, puts them up to his ear, listens, and makes a plan to answer them. (If you want to be doctrinal, God already has a plan before my words are uttered.) It’s as if in that moment, the plan is unleashed and God begins moving the universe to answer. Oh, it might an imperceptible change that I cannot see, but a domino effect begins as the answer makes its way back to me.

Over the past few years, I’ve begun to look wholeheartedly for any hint of answered prayer. Usually, we look for one giant answer to arrive – like a package in the mail. God can answer that way, but often doesn’t. In fact, the answers most often come in bits and pieces.

Answered prayers aren’t only meant to met my earthly needs. They are radically important to my spiritual development. Learning to accept God’s answer even when it isn’t the one I formulated in my head is a huge part of spiritual maturity. Knowing God listens makes it so much easier to send those petitions skyward and wait confidently, which makes me agree with David: “I will pray as long as I have breath!”



Following Stars

IMG_2286I’m a fan of the star tree-topper. Forget the bows and monograms and all other options. Why? The star reminds me of the point of all this celebration-finding Christ. As I was reading the wise men’s story this morning, a question popped in my brain: just how long did these men journey to find Christ? After a little investigation, I discovered that scholars believe their journey took two years. (See Matthew 2:1-12 for extra confirmation.) They first saw the star on the day of Jesus’ birth and finally arrived when Jesus was around two years old.

Two years of their lives spent searching for Christ! We can’t even wait a week to find Christ in a hundred different areas of our lives. We encounter an obstacle –a mountain to be moved– and we demand He move it now. But what if the journey is the important part? What if the search is what truly leads us to not just find him but continue our journey with him. The journey strengthens our faith, fills our hearts, renews our minds. Now we know that at the end of each journey, He will be found.

In verse 9 of Matthew 2, it says “once again the star appeared.” That’s two appearances, two separate journeys. Our journey to Christ is not a singular experience. It is a life of following the star. And just as it appeared for the wise men more than once, it will appear to us more than once. We should face every morning with the joy of following that star and knowing that it will lead us to a relationship with Christ that is all-fulfilling and always adventurous! So today and tomorrow, and every day that follows,  as you keep your eyes focused on what’s above, remember each step leads not only to Him but to know Him better.