Listening for God
I can resonate with David’s plea in Psalm 143, “O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy . . . Answer me quickly, O Lord” (verses 1a and 7a). The circumstances at the time for the shepherd-turned-king were weighing heavily on him because the passage also says, “So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed” (v. 4). The affinity for those ancient words came because of a lack of understanding and need for direction in some personal and professional circumstances. Why did God close one door when it did not seem to make sense? How would He provide in some other situations?
While it can be proper to ask the Lord to speak, to give an answer, maybe it is just as or even more important that I am listening for Him. Author James Hamilton shares this illustrative story about listening:
Before refrigerators, people used ice houses to preserve their food. Ice houses had thick walls, no windows, and a tightly fitted door. In winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the ice houses, and covered with sawdust. Often the ice would last well into the summer.
One man lost a valuable watch while working in an ice house. He searched diligently for it, carefully raking through the sawdust, but didn’t find it. His fellow workers also looked, but their efforts, too, proved futile. A small boy who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the ice house during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch.
Amazed, the men asked him how he found it. “I closed the door,” the boy replied, “lay down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking.”
I would be the first to admit (reluctantly) that I am slower when it comes to listening and quicker to speak or become angry – much the opposite of James 1:19. But maybe that is the key for me right now. Maybe by being still I can hear His voice and know again that He is God.
by Tim Bruns, Pastor of Adult and Care Ministries