Reason to Believe
From Psalm 116
I knew God was real when I was about eleven years old and He answered my prayer for sunflower seeds.
I played softball at the time for my middle school, and we were on the way to our practice field at Patriots Park. While riding the bus, several of the girls on the team started passing around sunflower seeds. They were chatting and laughing while I and a handful of other not-as-populars sat silently in the back, just watching. (This was before the days you could pretend you didn’t care with earbuds and iPhones.)
I so badly wanted to be included. I wanted to be talked to and giggled with and seen. So I said a prayer in the only words I knew to articulate at the time: “Lord, please can I have some sunflower seeds?”
We arrived at the park a few minutes later, and I climbed down the stairs of the bus to something I’d never seen before and never would see again. Our coaches stood at the bottom of the open doorway with two large tubs: one full of Double Bubble (“Take as much as you like!”, they told us), and the other, full of individual packets of sunflowers seeds.
I believed in God before this moment, but something about its simplicity (He pays attention to something this small?) and tangibility (I’m actually holding real-life sunflower seeds!) solidified His realness to me. Of course, my faith has had seasons of waning, but for the most part, I think back to moments like this and believe.
In Psalm 116, the psalmist writes, “The snares of death encompassed me ... I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord” (vv. 3-4 ESV). Likely, this moment of distress was a solitary one; his calling on the Lord, something He did quietly— perhaps only in his mind and while he was alone.
But then—the Lord hears! The Lord comes through! “You have delivered my soul from death,” the psalmist continues (v. 8) and then asks, “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?” (v. 12).
“I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.“ (vv. 13-14)
A private call of distress should end in a public call of praise.
Please don’t neglect this second part. God will always be faithful to hear and deliver His people; this is just part of His nature. “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful” (v. 5). But if you’re like me, you need reminders to be faithful in return, speaking—out loud, to all the people—what He has done and provided, how He has answered and delivered and redeemed.
In big things, in hard things, and even in seemingly small, insignificant moments when He reminds us He’s there and He’s listening—let’s be faithful to share what’s He done. Your stories and mine will keep us going in hard seasons; they’ll be a seed to cling to, encasing His realness and reminding His people to believe.
Next week’s reading: Psalm 119:89-176–Psalm 125.