There is a podcast that I enjoy listening to titled ‘How To Do Everything,’ produced by NPR. On one particular morning they had a segment about smelling flowers. A question was asked, if it is possible to smell away all of the scent from a flower. It was explained that a flower produces scent molecules as a kind of vapor that floats above the blossom. The flower is continuously producing more molecules, so as long as it is alive it will produce this scent. When the vapor is inhaled it is just as quickly replenished.
If a person comes to this flower looking for a fragrant scent, they are going to get it. That is the nature of the flower. If we were to smell a rose hoping to inhale the fragrance of a pinecone, then we would bring problems on ourselves because that goes against its nature. Just as a flower cannot be “smelled away,” so our God cannot be emptied of His fragrance. It is in his nature to be infinite. If we come to Him seeking His grace, it is inexhaustible. God will listen to us eternally, but we must come to Him desiring His nature and not our own self-interest.
We see the poet writing in Psalm 66 that he understands something of the nature of his God. The poet went to smell the rose and not the pinecone. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”
God hears everything, but there are times when we seek after our own purposes and not His. That is problematic because it makes God out to be something less than infinite. If we have a God who can hear everything, it makes sense that He is capable of doing anything. A God like that is one worthy of worship.
Jeremiah prays, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”
Several verses later God responds to Jeremiah, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:17, 27)
It is important to note that this was a devastating time for the people of Judah. The people were going into exile under the heavily armed military of Babylon. But is anything too hard for God? The God of history proclaims to Jeremiah that he heard the prayer of a man seeking after Him. God explains that even though this painful thing is happening, it is for the better. One generation will pass and the people will come back to the land God gave them and they will live in greater peace than they had before. And soon God’s salvation will be with them.
God listening to us is a beautiful reminder of the cross. When we were sinners in exile He died on the cross so we could speak with Him again. Because of the grace poured out we may choose to call His name. When we do, we have His promise to always hear us. That’s a lot of what Jeremiah talked about, “then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12).
When we pray we can know that God is infinite. That He can hear every prayer; not one goes unheard. Even if we could smell away the scent of a flower, we cannot pray away the grace of God. He will always hear and He will never stop caring about what we have to say. Every day we have is a day we can lift our hearts to God and know He is listening. Today let’s stop and smell the roses!
Pastor Chris Osterbrock
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com