Thursday, July 15, 2010

Are You Listening?

God speaks to us.  Yes, we probably realize that but do we really understand it?  Personally, I'm often waiting for Hm to write in flaming letters on the wall or move the clouds around into a picture of what He has in mind.  When that happens we have the tendency to wonder if God is really speaking to us.

I think the real question isn't whether or not God speaks, it's whether or not we're listening.  And I think that listening can be the hardest part.  How many times during our day do we not really hear what someone has to say.  We think we heard one thing when the person said another.  Or maybe we didn't quite catch what the person said and ask them to repeat it.  We're distracted by things around us such as noises, other events, our own thoughts, and so on.  If it's hard to hear someone that's physically close to us, how hard can it be to hear the quiet voice of God?

I'm a veterinarian by profession. When I'm listening to a pet's heart, there are a number of things that can prevent me from hearing clearly.  If the pet is panting or purring, those sounds can overwhelm the heart.  If there are a lot of background noises they can drown out what I'm trying to hear.  And there are some heart murmurs that are very subtle and take very careful listening.  In cases like that we may have to try to get the pet to breathe more slowly or go into a quiet room.  We are trained to try and eliminate outside distractions so that we can focus just on the sound of the heart.  When a murmur is soft, those distractions can affect whether or not we catch a problem.

Listening to God is similar.  Many times those outside distractions overwhelm His voice, preventing us from hearing what He wants to say. And to our detriment, we allow ourselves to be distracted.  We concentrate so much on things around us and even our own thoughts that we fail to hear God.

So what do we do?  The same things I do when I'm trying to hear a dog's heart.  Make ourselves slow down and relax.  Mentally eliminate all other "noises" of the world.  And physically move to a quieter location where there is less to distract us.  Once we've done all of that, we need to actually listen.  So much of our prayer time is us talking to God.  He loves that, but sometimes we need to stop talking and just listen with all of our heart and mind.

Then we will hear God.

1 comment:

  1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.