Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of Proper 23: Year 2
“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying, ‘I called to the Lord out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.” (Jonah 2:1 and 2)
I have a saying, “God’s ears hears tears.” I know it’s not correct grammar but it works for me. It is a reminder that when we are at our lowest in life, all we have to do is cry out to God. Theologians will tell us that we can’t know God. And, maybe there is some truth to that. But maybe we can know something about God. Throughout the Bible God comes to the aid of people who come to tears, from Hagar (Genesis 21:16), to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11), and many points in between. God comes to people who cry from sadness, grief, or abuse.
I have come to believe that it matters not what people believe in terms of getting God’s attention. God is so attached to the sadness of humans that even if a self declared atheist cries, God is with them. We can’t escape the love of God. God loves us more than we love God. God forgives our shortcomings. God overlooks our ignorance. God is eternally merciful and therefore, God’s ears hears tears.
If you think you don’t know how to pray, cry. It works. Cry from sadness, Cry from abuse or victimization. Cry from loss of a loved one. In all these, God is with you. God made us with secret alarms that go directly to God which brings God to us in times of distress. This is why God’s ears hears tears. This does not mean that God will respond in a way that suits the one crying. It does mean that God is present and attentive in ways beyond the discernment of mortals.
In the biblical examples above, an angel attended to Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis, and Jesus called Mary by Name in the Gospel of John. In our story of Jonah the writer has Jonah spit out on the shores of Nineveh. It takes these times of desolation and isolation to become contemplative enough to become aware of the presence of God with us, Emanuel.
This still happens today. Don’t wait until something bad happens. Carve out some time to be still and be quiet and wait for God. Reflect on your life, the good and the bad. If you come to tears, watch out!
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John