"I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them hearts that recognize me as the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly." Jeremiah 24:6-7

One of the most intimate moments in life is when you pause and listen to the heartbeat of someone you love. Placing your head against the chest of a loved one and quieting yourself long enough to hear or feel the rhythm of their life: when a couple hears or watches the first ultrasound of a baby in utero or when an adult son or daughter snuggles up on the deathbed of an infirmed parent; when your child cries out in the night from a nightmare and you rush to his or her side, when you lay your cheek on the chest of your spouse and just listen; listen for the heartbeat as all other distractions fade away other than the thump, thump, thump of the heart, again and again and again. You are sensing life - unborn, infirmed, energized, resting - and each heartbeat is a celebration of the mystery and majesty that is life.

All those around us live or die based on their heart continuing to beat, but rarely if ever, would we dare to listen that closely. In fact, it is such an intimate experience that it is usually reserved for those in our families. Everyone you see, everyone you meet, has this relentless beating in their chests that circulates their oxygen-giving blood flowing to every cell in the body. But we almost never think about how vital this organ is until it struggles or stops. Even standing right next to another person, the heartbeat is imperceptible, almost impossible to detect. Yet without it, life would suddenly cease.

So how do we hear the heartbeat of God?  Maybe it's as simple as being still and knowing He is God. Maybe we have to pull away from all the clamor and distractions that draw us away from God's heart. Like a child on the lap of a parent, we draw closely and wait. It takes time for the noise to settle. It takes effort to listen past the spiritual tinnitus, the persist ringing in our souls. We must relax and focus and maybe not even move for a moment, just to catch a sensation of the beating heart. Just listen. Just feel the rhythm. God is with you. God holds you gently. God loves you so much. God wants you close enough to feel the rhythm of His heart and the patterns of His thoughts. He is our Creator; we are His creation. All creation longs for connection with its Creator. We are no different.

Is there a message in the heartbeat? Certainly there is, but no literal translation can be given. It is simply a message of presence. It is a message of assurance and comfort that we are not alone nor will ever be abandoned. We are neither accidents of nature nor orphans without a home because we belong to God and we are loved. We are God's treasured creations and His image is within us. God's heartbeat is for all of His Creation
but especially so for humans who are the zenith of His creative actions.

God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and always present. God is always good, all the time. This is what the rhythm of the heartbeat proclaims: we are loved by the One who created us. We belong to God, who has not forgotten us. This is the heartbeat of God. As our heart beats in sync with His, we are sent back into the world with concern for the things that burden His heart. We reflect the One who sends us to share with deaf and hard of hearing young people this experience of astonishing, personal, intimate love; the heartbeat of God.

Shhh... just for a moment, listen... can you sense His presence? Are you paying close attention? Are you ready to respond; to receive? Are you willing to go?

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