Sing happily, people of Zion! Shout loudly, Israel!

Celebrate and rejoice with all your heart, people of Jerusalem.

The Lord has reversed the judgments against you. He has forced out your enemies.

The king of Israel, the Lord, is with you. You will never fear disaster again.

On that day Jerusalem will be told, “Do not be afraid, Zion! Do not lose courage!”

The Lord your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you.

He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love,

and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.

Zephaniah 3:14-17, God’s Word Translation

In my research of Zephaniah 3:14-17, I found a subtitle that sums up the message in this text: GOD IS IN CHARGE AT THE CENTER.

With all the disdain in Israel, the Lord, our Mighty Warrior, is going to bring peace and love back to his people Israel. He will rid Israel of their evil leaders and reverse the judgment that scattered and exiled his people. He also plans on bringing back those who are “poor in spirit” – good people who love the Lord. The final portion of this scripture tells of the peace, love and humility being returned to the people of Israel, because now they all know that GOD IS IN CHARGE AT THE CENTER. GOD IS PRESENT AMONG US.

Do you ever wonder if God is listening to you at a crucial time in your life?

As I read this scripture, I can’t help but remember a time in my life that brought terror. When I was 49 years old, a repressed memory from my childhood came flooding back to consciousness. Repressed memories can be triggered by an event, words, or actions.

The trigger for me took place when I returned to my home in Illinois for a funeral. I had traveled alone and found myself in close proximity to a particular male relative. What had taken place when I was 8 years old suddenly flooded my mind, and I panicked. Needing to find someone I could trust, I told a close cousin that I needed to leave in the morning, and I only wanted her to take me to the airport. This, of course, prompted her to ask “Why?” In sharing a brief explanation, I could feel she was very uncomfortable.

I got up and was preparing to leave the next morning when the male relative announced that he and his wife would be driving me to the airport. The trip took 90 minutes, and I didn’t speak a word the entire way. I stared straight ahead and prayed continuously. I wasn’t sure if God was tuned into my need, but I prayed that he would hear me. I prayed, asking God to keep me calm and to somehow separate me from this relative when we arrived at the airport.

When we pulled up at the airport, his wife and I got out and he went to park the car. A few minutes later he reappeared and told her that they needed to call a tow truck; on the way into the parking area, he ran into a pipe that was protruding from the wall and it destroyed his radiator. Instantly my mood turned to calm, and I walked quietly to my gate with my hand firmly holding God’s hand.

Today, I can share this experience without fear or anxiety, and I rejoice in the Lord’s love, comfort, protection and strength.

Do you ever wonder if God is listening to you at a crucial time in your life?

For me, the answer is a resounding NO! I never wonder if the Lord is listening to me. I know he is always there, accepting me unconditionally. GOD IS ALWAYS PRESENT AMONG US.

In closing, I would like to share this prayer of thankfulness for the many times God has been present in my time of need, as well as for all of the beauty he shares with us each day, as he whispers “I Love You.”                               

O Lord, the chapters and verses of Zephaniah remind God’s people not to be afraid because you are present among us. You are the only warrior we need. You are always there to forgive us, and in the quietness of our time together today, enjoy the sweet music of our praises to You. Thank you, Lord, for the hope, peace, joy, and never-ending love you give to us without condition. Amen.

Reflect on this:
How do you know whether God is listening to your prayers?

Betty Butler lives in Litchfield Park, AZ

When I was a younger adult, I enjoyed experiencing new and challenging opportunities. Now that I am much older, I find those experiences reinvented into a way to help others. One such experience was being thrown from a horse that was going “full tilt” and then instantly stopped, and I landed on the steel fence posts. This adventure included losing my hearing, damaging the portion of my brain that controls taste and smell, and teaching myself to walk again. God has given me a gift to share with others who are recovering from a brain injury, to not be afraid to seek help after you are “better.” My funniest challenge was trying to find a way to put taste back into my food. HOT hot sauce and pepper will add taste to anything! God showed me to pick the little challenges I could accomplish and leave the tough ones for Him.

3 replies
  1. maryroseroloff
    maryroseroloff says:

    I believe God always listens to our pleas or prayers. A sense of calm comes to me when I turn to God for help, and I certainly needed to be calm on the day my siblings and I moved both parents into a nursing home. Knowing they never wanted to go to a care center, but would rather be at home where they were having quite some difficulty made me tense and sad. I had trouble packing their suitcase, couldn’t think clearly to accomplish the task. My brother-in-law started helping, handing me items and we finished the the job. God’s hand was there. Just the fact that my parents agreed to go to the nursing home (as recommended by a doctor) felt like a miracle in of itself. Once at the nursing home, they personally knew one of the aids, which made the experience less traumatic for them. Another God moment. He had heard my pleas and was present in his goodness.

  2. judymikes
    judymikes says:

    Thank you Betty for sharing your experience relying totally on God to save you from a very deeply troublesome encounter. Your faith in the Lord to always be with you is a powerful example for all of us to trust him completely.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply