“Call unto Me, I will answer, and show you great and hidden things that you do not know.” (ESV).
“...I’ll tell you marvellous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” (MSG). – Jeremiah 33:3.
It has been several weeks since I planned to write this blog post but I did not get a release in my heart to do so. It was held back. And I did not have any inclination to write on another topic over the last couple of weeks. The Lord illuminated some truths in my heart on Wednesday morning, which gave me the impetus and much needed release to write this post.
I will share with you in this post my understanding of the scripture quoted above from Jeremiah 33:3 and how I have applied it to some seemly knotty and intractable issues in my life and in the lives of several persons in my sphere of influence who I have been standing in the gap for. I will also share some of the truths God illuminated in my heart as I asked for the revelation of the hidden things. These include how deep-seated anger and offenses cause scars, calluses and hardness in our hearts, and how these can impair the vitality of our relationship with God and with significant people in our lives.
The Call: “Cry to Me”
“Call Upon me” is not a plea. It is not a request. It is an instruction.
These were the words of Pastor Mayokun Oreofe, a dear Sista I met at the ROTH 2014 Conference in Lagos last July. These words caught fire in my spirit and have been resonating in my heart since then.
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble (distress);” (Ps. 50:15)
“Is there anyone in trouble? Let them pray.” (James 5:13)
“In my distress, I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.” (Ps. 18:6)
In August 2012, I wrote Unravelled. It was about intractable situations we sometimes face in life. Situations that are as complex as the Gordian knot—inextricable, challenging, complicated, convoluted and multi-faceted. Some are a tangled mess, defying understanding or solution. According to Charles Spurgeon (1908), it is God alone Who can untie the Gordian knots we try to unravel in our lives.
That is why we are instructed in the Bible that when we are faced with seemly intractable challenging situation, our only and best option is cry to God in fervent prayer.
My life’s story gave me several opportunities to acquire some experience in crying out to God. There have been instances when I had to open my mouth and cry out with a loud voice to the Lord of my salvation; “O God, help me,” I screamed at the top of my voice in my closet. “Father, intervene in this situation,” as I intercede over a burden concerning someone in my sphere of influence.
“Is there anything too difficult for You to do?”
“Can a heart be so hard that You cannot touch and soften?”
“Is there a situation too far gone that You cannot resolve and restore?”
It is at such times that I thank God for the thick walls of my house. No one but God could hear me crying out. And there have been instances when I have cried out to God in my heart yet not a sound came out of my lips. I had tracheotomy tube in my throat connected to the machine that was helping me to breath. I had no voice. I could not make any sound, yet in agony I cried out in my heart. I clenched my fist as tight as I could in that state of sheer weakness and exhaustion. I closed my eyes, and my heart wept before God. My soundless cry went before Him, into His ears.
Calling upon God is not a passive asking or a by-the-way making of request. It is akin to crying out to Him with a loud voice even if soundless. It is active. It requires effort. It requires consistency and diligence.
The Answer: “I will answer…”
“...I shall rescue (deliver) you, and you will honour Me. (Ps. 50:15)
“From His temple, He heard my voice; my cry came to before Him, into His ears.” (Ps 18:6)
“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.” (Ps. 145:18)
The Bible assures us that God is gracious to hear us when we cry out to Him for help. Because our cry brings us into His presence—granting us a private audience with Him (Ps18:6, MSG). As soon as He hears, He will answer us (Is. 58:9). We are also assured that His ears are ever open to our cry. He will listen to us. He will rescue. He will deliver. He will save. This is the guaranteed assurance that we have. When we come close to God, He comes close to us (James 4:8). He is near to those who call upon Him in truth.
When we call on God with the intensity that is described by crying out, God’s response is also intense. The Bible noted that in response to David’s cry of distress, God responded with anger and indignation. To the extent that the earth quaked and rocked like aspen leaves, and the foundations of the mountains trembled. God bowed the heavens and came down. He thundered from heaven and flashed like lightning against the cause of David’s distress to rout them. Then, He reached out from on high and drew David out of his troubles and delivered him from his strong enemies. This is the intensity of God’s response when we cry out to Him. He answers with thunder from heaven.
This gives me great confidence that God most assuredly responds to our cry for help and in His own time and in His own way, He brings us an answer.
The Revelation: “…and show you hidden things which you do not know.”
The instruction is to Call Unto God. The guaranteed assurance is that He Will Answer. The promise is that He will reveal hidden and secret things. My understanding of this is that when we heed God’s instruction and we cry out to Him in prayer and supplication, He will answer. Not only will He answer, He will reveal those things which are fenced in and hidden from our sight that will lead us to the answer He has guaranteed us.
“… From now on, I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you” (Isaiah 48.6).
We also know from Deuteronomy 29:29 that the secret things belong to the Lord but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may follow His word. God promised to take care of the hidden things but the revealed things are ours.
I knew with all my heart that I needed to know these hidden, fenced and secret things that will lead me to see the manifestation of the promised answer to my cry to God on behalf of my family, friends, church and nation. So I stood on the authority of this promise, and beseech God to reveal to me what we need to know. It is only in the place of prayer that secret and hidden things are revealed—in the place where we call upon the name of the Lord.
These are remarkable secrets we do not know about things to come. The Bible says that they are mysterious, incomprehensible and difficult to understand by the human mind in itself. They are things we do not know about. They are marvellous and wondrous things that we could not have figured out on our own. That is why they need to be revealed. Because they make huge impact on our lives.
God sees the complex situations we find ourselves in today just as He saw the misery of His people in Egypt as recorded in the Book of Exodus. He hears our cry today just as He heard the people of Israel crying because of their slave drivers. And as He declared then, so even now He is concerned about our situation. God see, God hears and God acts on our behalf. It gives me such great joy that we have a High Priest that is moved by our feeling of infirmity, by our distress and by our afflictions. One of the ways God acts on our behalf is to reveal those things we need to know.
In response to my cry, God in His faithfulness did reveal some of these hidden things and illuminated His truth brilliantly in my heart. I will share with you in the concluding post coming next what I have learnt about how scars, calluses and hardness in our hearts impairs the vitality of our relationship with God and thus hinder the answers to our prayers.