Does God hear me when I cry, asks Fr Alvan?

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Does God hear me when I cry, asks Fr Alvan?

Does God hear me when I cry, asks Fr Alvan Ibeh in his latest Voice of Hope series.

Have you noticed that the year is gradually coming to an end again? I can’t believe how time flies, my dear friends. We thank God for the gift of life and for bringing us thus far. If we look back and see how many people we have lost already in the year, we cannot but raise our hands in joyful praise, adoration and thanksgiving to God for goodness and mercies to us.

Just a reminder, my dear friend: you and I are not alive today because we merited it or because it is our right. It is not even because we are better than those gone before us. It is only by His grace. We are not consumed because of His mercies because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is His faithfulness (3:22-23). Let us always have this at the back of our minds and try not to forget easily.

Working as a priest in the parish and as a hospital chaplain, I have often been asked this common question: “If there is God, why is He not seeing all these sufferings, pains, and atrocities going on in the world?”. I have always answered that we live in an imperfect world, and what happens to one happens to the other. We all feel the sun’s scorching heat; we all feel it when it is bitterly cold. Cancer does not ask you if you believe in God; when Covid came, it killed both believers and unbelievers; the rich and poor were infected with it. Death also happens to us; it does not take permission before it strikes. It comes for the good and the bad as well. All these came to be as a result of sin.

Remember, there was nothing like death at the beginning until Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The Scripture in Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”. This phrase reflects God’s satisfaction and approval of His work. It also implies that God’s plan, power, wisdom and authority are perfect.

This phrase was used six good times in Genesis chapter 1, and the final time, it is modified to “very good”, which indicates the completion of God’s creation.

God planned that we will always be with Him and enjoy His glory. But the devil lured our first parents into disobeying God even after He had warned them. Their sin of disobedience came with consequences, and because we have inherited this sin of theirs (original sin), we are also suffering from the consequences today.

Sin and its consequences brought about hopelessness. But God, in His mercy, did not leave us in this state of hopelessness. He heard the cry of His people who needed to be saved and sent His only Son as a Saviour. His death on the cross brought us hope that no matter what we are going through today, it shall come to pass one day.

God indeed heard our cries and came to our rescue. Therefore, we need to be aware that God is not the cause of whatever evil is going on in the world today. It was never in His plan for children to die of hunger and starvation, for people to kill themselves in war, for diseases of different kinds to ravage his people, etc.

His plans for us are perfect, and that is why He has not given up on us despite our sinful and rebellious ways. His word in Isaiah 59:1-2 says, ‘Yahweh’s arm is not too short to save nor his ear too dull to hear, it is your sins, rather that separate you from God. It is your iniquities that veil his face so that he does not hear you”.

Though we disobey God and thereby separate ourselves from Him, He still waits for our return. He still hears our cries for help. But this we must do while we still have the time, “for God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” I tell you, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Our part is to cry out to him and try to turn away from sin, “But to Zion he will come as redeemer and to those of Jacob who turn from sin”.

When we have done our part, we then leave the rest for God who is ever faithful to His words. Isaiah 59:21 says, “For my part, this is my covenant with them, says the Lord. My spirit, which I have poured out on you, and the words I have put in your mouth, will never leave you, your children, or your children’s children forever and ever”. What a great assurance we have here.

We will conclude this topic in the next edition. May the peace of God be with you.