[#pictureLent] Feb. 28: Call out to God

By Nathan Adams
Fulford UMC, Miami Beach, FL

First, read Jeremiah 33:3

Sitting in my bedroom, a sense of peace washed over my middle school body as my eyes grazed over the day’s scripture. For months I had been reading several chapters of the Bible each day. At YMCA camp the previous summer I had made a commitment to read the Bible everyday in an effort to strengthen my relationship with God. It was part of a larger program the camp had to help campers strengthen the various areas of our life. We even received a special “rag” (it was similar to a bandanna) to remind us of our commitment throughout the year.

For months I read scripture, mostly out of obligation not wanting to break the commitment I had made at camp. After all, I love a good challenge. Some days I breezed through the passages not comprehending much while other days I carefully read the texts. I didn’t know it as I read, but God was up to something.

Slowly, the readings each day began to make sense. I was raised in the church. I knew the stories I was reading, but as I read the Bible the stories became my story. In the pages of the Bible God was revealing God’s love, grace, and presence in my life.

I still remember reading Psalm 77 when it finally “clicked” for me. As I read Psalm 77:16 “…the waters saw you…they were afraid…” God revealed that yes, the water the psalmist mentions is a reference to the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites, but it is more than that.

As I sat in my bedroom reading that Psalm for probably the fiftieth time, God was revealing that just like God had been present for the Israelites many years ago that God was and is also present with me. God’s presence was revealed to me. This was huge for me during a time of my life when it felt like many people weren’t there for me.

Today’s scripture from Jeremiah reminds us that as we seek God, even if out of obligation or indirectly, that God reveals God’s presence, grace, and hope for each of us. Jeremiah himself is confined in the court of King Zedekiah. Yet, in this seemingly dark time of his life and in the darkness of being held captive, God reminds him, Israel, and us to call upon God.

What follows in the scripture is God’s revelation to Jeremiah about the future of Jerusalem. The currently desolate and ravaged city will be restored. The Israelites will one day return to it from exile. Jerusalem’s streets will be full of gladness (vs. 10-11)! What great news that God reveals to him.

The greatest revelation of God and God’s love is Jesus Christ, of course. However, I absolutely believe that God is continually revealing God’s self around us if only we would stop and look. This Lent, and always we are invited to do just that. We are invited to call out to God. In middle school for me, and often today, my calling out to God was the persistent reading of the Bible.

Your calling out to God might be these daily devotionals, strolling with a loved one, listening to a song on the radio, or perhaps worshipping with others each week. So, call out to God! As we seek and call out to God, may God truly reveal great and hidden things we do not yet know fully.

Prayer: Oh Loving God who is full of mystery and yet continually makes yourself know to us, help us to seek you and to call out to you at all times. Shape us into people who not only see you revealed in our lives each day, but also people who work to share these revelations with those in our lives. Amen.

Discussion Questions

  1. Where do you see God working and moving in your life? In the life of the world?
  2. How do you intentionally call out and seek God? What keeps you from doing so more regularly?
  3. What is one of your favorite Bible passages? How does God through it reveal great and hidden things to you?