When God Leans In

Mark Renfroe

Have you ever caught yourself leaning in as someone speaks?  Maybe they weren’t speaking loud enough, and you didn’t want to miss anything. Or perhaps the content was so compelling that you were physically drawn in. I’m always encouraged as a preacher when I see people leaning in while I speak. I may be the one with the microphone, but they’re speaking with their body language. They’re letting me know that they’re tracking with me. They’re interested in what I have to say.

Did you know that when we pray with patient expectation, God leans in? In Psalm 40:1-3, we read, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (NIV). God turned his ear to David. Of course, God is both all-knowing and everywhere present, so he doesn’t need to physically lean in. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit revealed to David, and thus to us, that as we pour out the pain of our hearts to the Lord and trust him to act on our behalf, God turns his ear to us. One Bible translation puts it this way, “He inclined to me” (ESV). In short, God leaned in.

We don’t know what David was facing at that moment in his life, but he called it a slimy pit full of mud and mire. A few hundred years later, the conniving officials of King Zedekiah would dump the Prophet Jeremiah into a pit for speaking unwanted truth. The Bible tells us that Jeremiah sank into the mud and would have died had it not been for the intervention of a Gentile servant of the King. While the Book of Jeremiah doesn’t give us insights into what the prophet did while in the pit, we can assume from the rest of book that he cried out to God. The LORD heard his cry, leaned in and rescued him out of the miry clay.

Perhaps you find yourself in the pit of discouragement. Maybe the pit is the result of your own unwise or sinful actions. Rest assured that the Lord has not turned away from you. The Prophet Hosea put it this way, “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us, he has injured us, but he will bind up our wounds” (Hosea 6:2). The Lord longs to come to your aid, so cry out to him today and wait patiently for his deliverance.

Mark Renfroe and his wife, Amy, have been involved in field missions work for 30 years. Mark served as the area director for Assemblies of God World Missions and currently serves as the chief missions officer for World Challenge.

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