Lord, listen closely to me and answer me, because I am poor and in need. (Psalm 86:1)
Listen closely to my prayer, Lord; pay close attention to the sound of my requests for mercy. (Psalm 86:6)
When our children were babies, I was astounded at my wife’s acute hearing. Deep into the night she could hear even the slightest sound that might tip her off that our son or daughter needed our attention. She sprang out of bed and was beside them in a heartbeat.
David’s words today are like the restless sounds coming from a nursery. He boldly cries out as if Jesus wasn’t the only one who called God “Father.” He has utter confidence that the Father will drop all the divine busy-ness and rush to his side. That’s the same boldness he had when he rushed to face Goliath, utterly confident that he’d have divine protection.
We Christians sort of take this for granted. After all, Jesus told us that God counts the hairs on our head and hears our closeted-prayers. But David knew this centuries before Jesus was born. He sensed it in his being and he didn’t hesitate calling out, demanding attention just as a frightened child calls out in the middle of the night.
It was such bold trust that got God’s attention. Maybe God created us to enjoy us–our antics, our joys, our wonder. Maybe God yearns to hear us calling out in the middle of the night. Such vulnerable times draw us closer to the Parent who’s been listening and has dashed to our crib-side.
Maybe David had it a bit wrong, though. He didn’t need to plead for God’s “mercy,” as if it’s an inconvenience for God to listen and care. Jesus’ Father simply can’t help himself to rush to our side, just as the father raced to the side of his Prodigal Son.