And they shall be My people, and I will be their God. — Jeremiah 32:38 (ESV)
We once met a retired missionary who, with his wife, was serving as an interim pastor at a church in Oklahoma. He talked amusingly about living out on "the cutting edge". His wife had driven their questionable car several hundred miles across Texas to be with their daughter as she gave birth. The trip was made on worn tires. His wife arrived back home, parked the car in the driveway, and started carrying her luggage into the house. By the time she returned for the next load all four tires had gone flat. I perhaps raised my eyebrows, but there was really no reason for me to disbelieve it. I was looking at their car. I wouldn't start out for my front gate in it these days. He told the story both for the humor of it and as a way to acknowledge their faith that they were God's people, and He was their God.
By making this profound and simple statement, God is calling upon us to call upon Him. There is reciprocity between God and those who belong to Him. The power of prayer lies not in convincing God to do something for us but in finding the harmony that must exist between us. When we find the point at which we connect with Him — the mutual purpose that we have, our single, two-sided will, we will find prayers answered almost automatically. This is obvious in the life of Christ. Jesus knew, as He said in John 8:14, where He came from and where He was going. He knew that His life was being lived in harmony with the Father.
Our part of the relationship is to first receive. It is exceedingly difficult to give away what one does not possess. As far as I know, only the federal government is able to that on a regular basis. The rest of us must have something in order to share it. What we are to receive is God Himself. As He pours His Spirit into us, out of our innermost being will flow — to others, and even back to our Father, streams of living water (John 7:38).
I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy (Psalm 116:1). Our call and God's response is not simply about the answer but the hearing. There are times when I desperately need an answer — at least, there used to be. As the years have passed, my life and my circumstances seem much less important than I once thought them. Most of the time now, I like to think that I am content with God's presence, with the world-shattering fact that He will hear me personally, that He knows and understands the hauntings of my past and the often distorted reflections of my present. People need to be heard. Why else do we log our thoughts in the cyberfog? But to be heard by the Creator, to know that the Infinite Unknowable knows and cares enables us to catch a glimpse of life's meaning that breaks free of the endless ring of days, demands, and deeds.
We are God's people. He hears us, knows our thoughts toward Him, walks with us, and goes before us. He is our God.