We all want to be heard, to be known. For those who love, and put their hope in, the Lord, the most important ear of all belongs to God.
We live in a culture that values fame above all else, a weird phenomenon that I think rose hand in hand with the invention of Thomas Edison’s movie projector, moving pictures…an idea that would change the world. Suddenly everyone with a nickel could go downtown and sit in a dark theater to watch actors moving across a screen, bigger than life, in black and white. Beautiful people having dreamlike romances, dancing in lavish ballrooms most had only heard of in stories, daring heroes on horseback like Tom Mix and Will James, saving damsels in distress.
There were the clowns, those what made us laugh with their slapstick antics and goofy looks; Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Larry, Mo and Curly. Where before only the rich and privileged got to see actors portraying characters on stage in the big productions in places like Broadway or Paris—those actors only known to the few who saw them live—now everyone recognized the faces they saw in the Saturday matinee’s, and as the silent moving pictures became talkies everyone fell in love with the singers and everyone learned to talk like James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne and Mae West.
Soon the movie companies were willing to pay their actors, their stars, more and more money, and we were willing to pay more and more to watch them on the big screen and we all dreamed of being like them, not just their characters, but like the stars themselves. They get to live in mansions and wear diamonds and tailored clothes, go to all the best parties and hire people to do everything they don’t want to do.
Everyone loves them, everyone knows them, everyone listens to them, ‘if only I could be like that…’ So we try, maybe we won’t be big stars but we want to be known, people will go on reality TV and make total and utter fools of themselves just to be seen by lots of people. People will do amazingly dangerous stunts just to get lots of people to watch their videos on YouTube.
Like the woman who shot her boyfriend with a fifty caliber handgun thinking that a phone book would stop the bullet, just to make a video that would make them famous, for a few minutes. He died as their young child watched.
When I was a teenager we all just wanted to hang out together, to be part of the cool crowd, or any crowd that would have us. In Billings in the 70’s it was the freaks and the jocks, the cowboys and the nerds, it didn’t matter, what mattered was being accepted, being known by someone. Now things have shifted more to virtual “hanging out” How many friends do I have on Facebook, how many people liked my last post, how many Twitter followers do I have? But there is a disconnect there. We can interact with more people than ever before, anytime and anywhere, yet we really don’t know these people, and worse, they really don’t know us.
The big movie stars figured this out years ago. You can be known and loved by millions of people, yet not have any real friends. In fact you have to hide from most people because everyone just wants to use you, either just to brag that they know you, or to get some of your fame and fortune for themselves, many would even mob you just to say that they touched you, got a piece of you. Just because people recognize you or know your name doesn’t mean they know you. Just because people remember a line you said in a movie—or on Facebook, doesn’t mean they like you. All they know is a persona, a character or a face.
All that to say; life can be lonely. It is lonely because we all have an intrinsic need to be loved, to be heard, and because we crave it so desperately, we try to attain it the wrong way, often leaving us more lonely and disappointed than ever. Because even if we get noticed, it is often not what we hoped for, it just is never enough. That’s because the only thing that truly satisfies the heart’s need for love is to have a heart that is grounded in the love of our God. A heart that is assured that it is heard by our God, heard and known, is a heart that can find joy in the love of others, a heart that can give that love and hear others, is a heart that engenders that reciprocal love and attention in others.
If you want to be loved, love, if you want to be heard, hear. But we have to start with the knowledge that our creator hears us, not just hears us but knows us and cares about us. That’s what Psalm 139, a psalm of David, is all about. Long before moving pictures and never ending seasons of American Idol, there was a King in the land of Israel who knew that his life, his lot, and his happiness, all hinged on his knowledge that his God knew everything about him, knew him better than he knew himself, yet still loved and cared about him.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it. Ps 139;1-6
I certainly wouldn’t want everyone to know me like God does, in fact I wouldn’t want anyone to know me like God does, but I am glad that he does. Because his knowledge of me is so complete, I know he understands the reasons behind some of the things I do and think, that I desire to be a good person and long to do better, to be Holy and pleasing to him. Yet I often fall short. Praise him that Jesus makes up the difference and has purchased my salvation, because he knows that deep down inside, I truly do love him.