As I read Hosea 14, I was confronted by God’s loving and merciful response to the unfaithful Israelites. We are quick to label ourselves as unworthy of grace or too far gone, yet God continues to love us and call us to repentance. God does not respond to our cries with condemnation, distance, or rejection rather he shows mercy.
“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God for you have stumbled because of your iniquity”Hosea 14:1 English Standard Version
In our weakness, God calls us to return to Him for He is our strength! Psalm 61 is another example of the nearness of our God and His attentiveness to our prayers.
“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the ends of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge a strong tower against the enemy.”
The psalmist says he cries out when his heart is faint. I am all too familiar with this prayer. The prayer of a person in need of rest in the midst of their struggling. The prayer of one aware they need someone higher than themselves. This psalmist is aware of his dependence on God and responds in prayer.
Similarly, Matthew 20 tells of two blind men sitting on the side of the road, who cry out to God for mercy. I am so encouraged by their faith despite the opposition.
“And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”
These men were aware of who Jesus was. Therefore, they called out to Him despite the crowd trying to silence them. Unlike the crowd, Jesus stopped, listened to them, and healed them. Jesus does not ignore the cries of his children and he is not ignorant of their needs. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, God’s character is displayed and He is a God who hears and responds.
A month ago I served as a camp counselor and the pastor preached on prayer. He said when we pray we must come to God with humble hearts and honest words. I love that! Prayer is not about perfection or strength. God already knows our weaknesses and our needs. Go to Him as you are, cry out to Him with honesty and humility, and trust that He is listening.