"HEAR ME WHEN I CALL"
By Wayne S. Walker
"Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer" (Psalm 4.1). How horrible it feels when someone whom we have known and loved and trusted turns a deaf ear to some plea that we might make! We recognize that a friend might not always be able to do what we ask, but he can still sympathize with our need. Yet, to treat such a plea with disdain as being unimportant or even stupid really hurts. The God whom we worship and serve is not like that. He may not always choose to respond in the precise way that we wish, but He is God of righteousness. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18.25).
In the absence of an actual revelation from the Lord that He has acted in a particular way with regard to a person’s life, I feel very hesitant to affirm beyond doubt that "God did this for me" or "God did that for me." At the same time, I am a firm believer in the providence of God, because He promises His people that if they seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, all their needs will be supplied (Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:19). Furthermore, we can know with assurance that He will do us good because every good and perfect gift comes down from above (James 1:18). Thus, every Christian can undoubtedly look back upon his life and see times when he is convinced that God has relieved him in his distress. As John Newton wrote, "’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home."
Therefore, based upon what is revealed about God in the scriptures and upon the experiences of their own lives, Christians can have the conviction that God will have mercy upon them and hear their prayers. Again, God may not necessarily answer our prayer with a yes. Paul prayed three times that his thorn in the flesh would be removed, and God said no (2 Corinthians 12.8-9). Yet God did hear and answer Paul’s prayer in that He gave him the grace and strength to bear his trials. We certainly cannot expect God to remove every burden and every obstacle. But if we live for Him, we can look to Him to provide the help and guidance we need to overcome or endure them as we need. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4.13).