Are you a good listener?
Does anyone ever reply no to this question? Perhaps they should say, to what?
The Bible uses the phrase, “he who has ears to hear,” which sounds strange to us, but perhaps speaks to a deeper truth. Our ears do not always hear what they should.
Over the years, many of us have become “hard of hearing”. Numerous things can make us this way, but often it’s repeated exposure to excessive sound levels. This physical reality is also true spiritually. If we sense we have lost some of our hearing, how can we learn to improve it?
Two thing that contribute to better physical and spiritual hearing are:
Eliminating extraneous noise;
Teaching our ears to listen with focus.
Earlier this year Covid-19 struck, and with it came a strange unforeseen consequence, one I call, the calm of the plague. People who were cloistered in their homes, deserted the streets and roads, and consequently the physical noise that led to our deafness was gone, along with much of the busyness of life, which seems like just another kind of noise. For a short time, the quiet gave us a chance to hear, in ways the noise never allowed us to before.
By listening to the quiet, we could become less hard of hearing
We are however, not the first ones who had to learn this. The prophet Elijah, centuries ago went through a similar learning process.
After ministering through the noise of difficulties, threats and loss, God called Elijah to retreat to a quiet place where he could speak to Him. God then allowed Elijah to go through his own time of quieting, noise, distractions and fire. Out of all this, came quiet and the whisper of the voice of God.
1 Kings 19:11-13
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?
Has the repeated noise of many voices made you hard of hearing?
Has the quiet of Covid-19 taught you, or threatened you?
When the noise returns and the “normal” we have longed for begins to fill our ears, will His whisper remain louder than the all the other voices.
In this “Great Pause,” I am training my ears to listen for His whisper, as I stand quietly together with you in The Great Pause,