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What if God Couldn't Hear?

What if the Bible told the story of a God who could hear some of our attempts to talk to him, some of the time…but that because of his busy schedule and all of the background noise he has to deal with, he doesn’t hear everything we are trying to say to him? In that kind of relationship, I’m thinking a conversation might go something like this:

“Hello, God… It’s me again… Mart… from Grand Rapids. Can you hear me? I hope I am speaking loud enough and not getting you at a bad time. Last time I tried to get in touch with you I ended up feeling like I was just talking to myself. So I’m going to try and speak more clearly, and slowly this time.

… (5 minutes of explanation)… but, (six complaints).. and, (10 requests)… I guess that’s enough for now. I just wish I knew how much you were hearing and seeing. Well, I guess you have more important things to do. So I’ll say, good bye for now.

Yeh, that’s a bit foolish and even pagan. It’s not where I am–or maybe I should say it’s not where I want to be. I could stand next to you in church and confess belief in a God who is so infinitely great that nothing is too small to escape his notice or concern. But too often I don’t act that way. I wish that in the anxious, restless times of my life, my heart was closer to what King David wrote below than to what I’ve written above,

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night- but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

(Psalm 139:1-18 from the New Living Translation)

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13 Responses to “What if God Couldn't Hear?”

  1. brownsfan1642 says:

    I really think that we force our own frailties onto our view of God. We know how impatient we get when we have been interrupted and assume God feels the same. We know how irritating it can be to hear the same person whine (sorry :) about the same things repeatedly, and assume God responds similarly. It is a reminder to me that, although I want to be more like Him, God is very different from me—especially in relating with people. His patience alone is an indicator of that.

  2. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Good Morning everyone, Mart, What a God that we can cut a covenant with and be a partner with for all eternity.
    i believe many have missed this part of God’s plan, maybe you can get on this tremendous subject some day that i believe is the vitale point within God’s plan for mankind.
    I will not get off the subject at this time to give my opinion of what i believe about cutting a covenant with God is all about, but i believe is the core of God’s plan.
    I know God listens for each thought we even have, and answers every request we make within His will, but cannot hear any requests outside His will.
    I enjoy just sitting and talking with God with my mind, not requesting all the time, but much of my time with the Lord is just desiring to know the truth about different things that i have been in doubt about, asking the Holy Spirit to help me know what is his will for me this hour, as i go through the day.
    Repeating Proverbs 3:5,6 throughout the day.
    I believe trying to stay in God’s will with my thoughts, i am more assured of more of them being answered, and being at peace with God.
    As David said i cannot ever fool God, thereby one of my desires is to never try to fool others, be as honest as humanly possible with everyone, as has been mentioned before, being a person of integrity, so Christ can be seen through us.

  3. hal.fshr says:

    Mart, your hypothetical situation in which God is not hearing your prayers was creative and insightful. It was good to contrast this with Psalm 139 which reflects on God’s awareness of every detail of our lives. I also find it comforting that other Psalms seem to echo your experience of feeling like we need to get God’s attention. “Give ear to my prayer, O God, And do not hide Yourself from my supplication. Attend to me, and hear me; I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily.” (Psalm 55:1-2)

  4. ttessman says:


    I have to say that I agree with your hypothetical analogy of God. I’ve been praying and trying to talk to God since I was a little kid. As a preachers kid, I was pretty much told what I was supposed to believe. “There is this amazing God, who sent a son too earth, through a virgin birth to save you of your sins” That kind of crap. I’m sure you’ve been bombarded with that stupid message as well. What I’ve learned as an adult is that God does not listen. I truly believe that if there is a higher power, he/she does not listen. Of course when I bring this up to believers they will give you that ol line, “Sometimes God’s answer to your prayers is NO”. Am I the only one who is sick and tired of hearing that?

    I appreciate you giving me the forum to vent.

    Have a great day.


  5. lynntate says:

    Good morning. Sometimes I think it would benefit us all to consider what a wonderful God we serve. A God who is so powerful, so far above and beyond us, yet so in tune with each and everyone of us is hard to begin to understand. We are so easily distracted, and overwhelmed. Our world seems so hard to keep up with. Yet we serve a God who is in touch with this world, this solar system, this galaxy, and the entire universe. Again I think of Psalm 8, and ask who is man that You are mindful of him. With all that God has created and done, we should be honored by the knowledge that He is mindful of us, and take the time to thank Him whenever we get the opportunity. And thank you for keeping us thinking about such things Mart.

  6. poohpity says:

    Gee Tim it seems as if you have been really hurt by the imperfect people of God. I understand because sometimes people would want to hold others to a higher standard than they themselves are able to meet. You have made a choice to not believe and that is your freewill. I am so thankful that God does not hold me to the expectations of other human beings because I would never measure up to what they expect me to be.

    I do expect God however to hear me when I call to Him because that is my only safe place in this world we live in. When I came to believe I did not go on what anyone else said I read his word and listened to Him teach me. If I never get the answer to any of my prayers the way I would like them to be answered I still believe he hears me. If I never see a miracle in my life time I still believe. Obviously my thinking and wanting to control the things around me has lead me down a path I would not wish on anyone. My faith in the unseen is what has changed my life to be able to love again.

    Prayer is another word for just talking to God who I believe wants to spend time with me constantly. Please tell me who else in all this world wants to be with you 24/7 I think they would get sick of me. The bible is a history book of God wanting us to spend time with Him and when left to our own we usually messed everything up. In his grace and mercy He always made a way to restore a relationship with Him, go figure, now that is LOVE.

  7. FishingSI says:

    Good afternoon. This is my first post. How comforting to know our God loves us so much not only to hear, but care and take interest in, every detail of our life. I am reading Prayer by Phillip Yancey right now, and recommend it to anyone whom is struggling with the big questions surrounding prayer. What gives me peace when I’m faced with the “how and why” of God’s nature is to know that His love for me is endless, that there is a place reserved for me in Heaven, and to know that He has a good reason for everything according to His timetable (one day we’ll know, but for now, it’s called faith).

    Thank you Mart for your daily thoughts on some of life’s most intriguing Biblical questions.

  8. Niivam says:

    This is why I pray that by His grace,I may daily set my mind on the things above, being focus and throwing off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles me, so that one day I may lay my eyes on this amazing loving God that my little mind can not fathom his greatness. What a day that will be! Let us all strive hard for our future is great. Let erase FEAR from our lives because we belong to the Most High.

    Thank you Mart, for this site…..it’s been a blessing to me. Keeping stiring our souls, challenging and comforting us!

  9. daisymarygoldr says:

    It is fun to see your imaginations running wild:) but thanks for drawing our attention to Ps 139. It is indeed soooo beautiful…to sense God’s presence permeating all of space and time…to know that He actually KNOWS EVEN THE UNBORN- NASB says “unformed substance” (v16). The embryonic stage can be broken down to its subatomic level but beyond that…what??? We just cannot help but remain awestruck all our lives!
    Tim: Maybe, I cannot relate to your thoughts but I do have a little brother who talked exactly like you. He grew up into a fine young man, got a good degree that got him a great job that involved going around the world and making lots of money, a beautiful loving wife…when suddenly he realized “I have everything but it seems as if I have nothing”- those were his exact words. Guess what? Today, he uses every free moment that he gets from his busy life to tell others about how real and good and loving God is! …he has become a preacher…this is so unbelievable- even for me:) So, I will pray and hope that someday you will also know and believe that “if we ask anything according to His will, God hears us(1 John 5: 14-15)!!

  10. Ika says:

    Hi Mart,good evening!
    I am so grateful that our God has no voice mail. He is always available anytime, anywhere. When we are feeling blue , He is giving us pleasure. When we are feeling happy, He is happy with us. Sometimes, i just can not believe it, why He does this to us, but then I know that everything is a grace and it has been given to us. I just can admire and be thankful of His grace.

    Thank you Mart, Have a blessed day!

  11. xinyi says:

    Hi Mart,
    i sometimes do talked to GOD and i doesn’t get any responses. I am scared becaused i really wanted GOD to answer every of my questions very badly. I break off with my bf more than two months ago and i’m asking GOD to give me a chances to be with him again coz i like him very much…hope GOD will answer my prayer and giving me some responses

  12. Becky M says:

    I am so glad that God listens and knows every hair on my head. He knows what I’m going to ask before I ask it but never says to me “I know.” He wants me to take my problems and emotions to Him even thought he already knows! Isn’t that something? Being an imperfect human, if I already know something about someone and that person comes to me knowing that I know,to tell me again,I would have a tendency to say yea I know. God,wants you to keep asking and coming to him about our needs and feelings. He never is too busy or puts you on hold or says again? This is similar to the thread What if God couldn’t feel. Thank you, Mart for both threads. All here have a God filled day.

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