• Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Is God Listening?


“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Psalm 32:8 (NIV)

The holidays have come and gone and the warm, fuzzy feelings are now long distant. Life is back to normal, whatever that means, and I find myself looking at the landscape of my current situation, wondering, “Is God listening to my prayers?”

We have officially been in our new city for five months now and feel quite acutely the sting of not having a church family or local friend network yet. The lack of new friends makes sense as we’ve been working non-stop rehabbing the house and then the holidays hit, so it’s no big surprise. However, for the last twenty years, a church home is the first thing we seek to establish in a new city, knowing this is where our support system will emerge. Yet despite all our efforts, this is the one thing that we have not been able to find.

Weeks prior to the move we began praying for our new church, wondering what it was going to be like and what new friendships we would make. Unfortunately, week after week has passed and there is no place that feels like home. To say we are discouraged is an understatement.

I think part of the discouragement comes because this doesn’t feel like a selfish prayer request. We are actively seeking a place to call home, commit to, and serve. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. So why isn’t God answering?

A few months into the search, we had a conversation about our discouragement and what we were looking for in a church and decided that maybe this season is not about what we need or want from our church, but what we can give to it. So, we found one that was “ok” and decided to commit to it. There have been ups and downs with this decision but we’ve remained committed.

The truth is, in ways that are difficult to explain, my husband and I both know deep down this is not our church. So, we once again began diligently seeking God’s guidance and direction on this matter that is so important to us. I, personally, find great comfort in the Psalm quoted above and believe with all my heart in the truth it foretells.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Psalm 32:8 (NIV)

I can’t think of anything more comforting right now than clinging to this verse and believing God will teach us the way we should go.

Today, however, is the second Sunday in a row we’ve gotten up early and headed out the door to a church only to find the one we’d chosen was closed with no explanation or reason. INFURIATING! All we want to do is go to church; is this such a horrible request?

Friends, the reason I share all of this with you today is that this is what the journey of faith looks like at times. We can read God’s word, believe its truths, pray diligently, and sometimes life still doesn’t turn out the way we hope or desire. What are we to do in these seasons?

We cling to what we already know to be true about God and wait expectantly.

I tell people regularly, “The time to figure out what you believe about God is not in the middle of a crisis, because if you don’t already know God’s character in advance, he will lose and you will blame him; believing he is holding out on you. So get to know him when things are good so you are ready when the storm hits.”

I don’t know why our church home is so long in coming to us, but I do know God is not holding out on us and that he is listening to our prayers. Yes, I get discouraged and frustrated some days, but I continue to hold onto what I know is true, which is, “God cannot lie” (Hebrews 6:18). If God cannot lie, then I know when the time is right, he will instruct us where we are to land. Until then, we wait, remembering, God is always faithful.




For Your Reflection…

How are you with God when life doesn’t turn out the way you expect? Do you blame him or trust him? Both ends of the spectrum can be hard to navigate when you are discouraged. Wherever you find yourself today, talk to God about it. He is listening.


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