, Muskogee, OK

December 10, 2013

Is God really listening all the time?

By Barret Vanlandingham
Fort Faith

— As I write this article, I am on hold with AT&T while a customer service representative is trying to figure out why my cell phone can receive text messages but it cannot send them.

I was thinking to myself that there has to be a spiritual parallel here somewhere, and then it hit me! Why does God get to tell us everything He wants us to know through the Bible, but when we communicate to God through prayer, many of us wonder if our message actually gets there? And if He does hear our thanksgivings and pleas for help, what does He think about them, and how are we supposed to know His time frame for answering? Wow! Serving an invisible God can be frustrating sometimes! Any other relationship would probably be doomed from the start if it were modeled after this kind of communication.

Thankfully, our relationship with God is not like any other relationship, nor is the ultimate outcome. While we do have a personal relationship with God, He is also the Savior to the masses who believe and obey Him. He has already proven His love to us by coming to earth in the form of Jesus, a 100 percent human and 100 percent God being. And just so people would believe in His message and His identity, Jesus did miracles, A LOT OF MIRACLES. In fact, Jesus regularly performed miracles seen by thousands of people during His ministry. Those were in addition to the crucifixion and resurrection which fulfilled prophecy from a thousand years before those events happened.

John said, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31).”

God threw us a lifeline when He sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from sin and its consequences. But the bottom line is that we still must believe in a God we haven’t personally seen, and we must believe in a story that we did not personally witness. The same could be said of other historical figures who no one doubts existed. However, none of this means we are somehow relegated to worshipping a God we have never experienced. He impacts our lives everyday if we will just take notice of what He has done and continues to do, and all of those “little” coincidences that simply cannot be explained in the absence of a living God.

Many first and second century writers from outside of the Bible quote scripture and even talk about Jesus in ways that are consistent with the Bible’s description. They include Josephus, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Lucian, and even the Babylonian Talmud (a collection of writings by Jewish rabbis from 70-200 A.D.). With each generation, more overwhelming evidence continues to surface in science, history, archaeology, geology, and astronomy that supports the Bible’s teachings.

Yes, we would all like immediate audible answers when we talk to God, and we want them in our preferred time frame. But the evidence of God’s existence and His love for us is overwhelming. His word already gives us all the information we need to make it to heaven (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The least we could do is to have faith that He has our best interest at heart, even if we don’t always understand his reasons or timing. His grace gives us something more than worthy of our belief and obedience. And in the end, the reward of heaven will be more than worth it. Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or