Psalm 22:23-31; Genesis 16:7-15; Mark 8:27-30 (read online ⧉)
Ishmael. God Hears. How amazing is that? God—the Creator—hears.
Hagar had run away. Sarai treated her poorly to such a degree that Hagar felt that the wilderness was better than staying (initially, at least). Feeling so overwhelmed by life and circumstances is not unfamiliar to many of us. In fact, feeling overwhelmed seems to be characteristic of the modern life.
We don’t have the words Hagar cried out, if any. Regardless of whether it was words, wails, or the silent cry of her heart, God heard her.
God asks her, “…where have you come from and where are you going?” God knows all. God knows the answers to both of those questions, yet still God asks. God is letting Hagar know that He is actively listening to her. He is open to her pouring out her heart. Just like each of us, it is better to put words to things and letting them out, rather than shoving them into the darkness of our hearts, letting them fester and rot.
Other times we need to speak the words so that we embrace their truth. Jesus asked his disciples who is. Peter declared, “You are the Messiah.” This was no small declaration. Depending on the hearer, that could result in serious consequences. Declaring with his lips, Peter embraced the truth that his heart was telling him.
Words have power. They can bind us. They can free us. They can bring the hidden into the open. God is waiting to hear our words.
1) When you pray privately, do you speak out loud, or only think quietly? Why?
2) While God can hear the cries of our hearts, why might it be important to speak words, rather than just think them?
3) Why might it be important to know that God hears us?