Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The Lord listens and heeds when I call to him.”
Psalms 4: 3
“Listen” – To tune in. To pay attention.
Do I believe God listens to me?
“We are so busy, Lord, we do not listen. The world is so noisy, Lord, we do not hear. We do not hear what Your Spirit is saying to each one of us. We have been afraid. Lord teach us to (listen). Teach us, Lord.”
Women of New Zealand
“When someone deeply listens to you, your bare feet are on the earth and a beloved land that seemed distant is now at home within you.”
Finding What You Didn’t Lose
The decade of the 1960’s has gone down in history as a time of great change in The United State of America. After the assassination of a president, our nation plunged headlong into a time of internal strife as long denied rights were established for those who never deserved to be treated less than children of our Heavenly Father. During this time of confusion, when individuals chose to take sides and found themselves hurling words at and about each other – words that were used as weapons of personal destruction, rather than a salve that heals – a song hit the air waves in early 1966 that had one of the most profound lyrical lines of nearly any song I have ever heard. The song, written by the musical genius Paul Simon, was called “Sounds of Silence.”
In the third stanza we find these words:
“People talking without speaking;
People hearing without listening.”
Have you ever heard something without really listening? I’m afraid I do this more often than I’d like to admit. The other day I was busy reading and I “heard” my husband telling me something, but I wasn’t really listening. After he finished he said, “I wonder, Dorothy, can you tell me what I just said?” He had one of those “gotcha” looks on his face. I apologized because he was absolutely right. My attention was focused on something else and although I could hear his voice, what he was saying didn’t register in my brain. I was oblivious to the meaning of his words.
In our busy society we do a lot of hearing without really listening. Evidently it isn’t just in our day and age that this phenomenon has taken root. It seems that over 2,000 years ago, when Jesus walked the earth, even people without “iPOD’s” had trouble listening.
If you were to ask a Canaanite mother, who lived in the region of Tyre and Sidon how well people listened, she would have told you they didn’t listen at all. This mom had a child who had been ill for some time. She had sought help everywhere she could, to no avail. Then one day, someone told her about Jesus – a healer who was in Jerusalem – three days away by foot. What was she to do? What would you have done? No one around her was listening anymore. The community had become tired of her pleas for help because they were helpless! They couldn’t fix her problem. They couldn’t make her child well.
If I had been in this mother’s sandals, I think I would have been ready to give up. Why think anyone was listening and certainly not Jesus. How could he hear her? He was three days away!
But hold on a minute! Jesus didn’t just hear this woman. He was listening for her. God promises: “Before you have finished speaking, I’ve already heard you” (Isaiah 65: 24) (The Message). Why? Because God is listening all the time. His ear is “inclined” to us. As the Psalmist David wrote “I waited and waited and waited for God…and He listened” (Psalms 40: 1, The Message).
This mother – a foreigner, a person the Jewish people called a heathen, a woman who most likely spoke Greek, a Canaanite, three days by foot away from Jesus – was on His radar screen all the time. And when she cried out for His help, Jesus was already on His way to her.
I encourage you! Do you have a problem so big it is overwhelming you right now? Does it seem that people are sick and tired of hearing you complain? They look at you with that, “enough already” kind of look. They can’t help you. And at this moment, you feel like you’re almost at the end of your rope – just hanging on by a thread.
Well – take heart. Get out your binoculars. Put on your bifocals. Grab a magnifying glass and head outside. Look down the road. There’s a figure coming down the street toward YOUR house. You thought He wasn’t paying attention. You thought He had forgotten about you. You thought you were all alone. But just when you couldn’t take it anymore – help arrives. And praise God, you find out Jesus was listening all the time. He was on His way to help you – long before you even asked!
“My heart’s about to break; I’m a burned-out case…what I do God, is wait for You. I’m on the edge of losing it – the pain in my gut keeps burning. Don’t dump me, God! My God,, don’t stand me up. Hurry and help me.”
Psalms 38: 10-22
“To listen – really listen – amid the noise to risk being open to another perspective amid the impacted uncertainties to be able to listen to impassioned pleas while owning the cries that come from our own hearts.
“To listen to an argument that does not resonate – disagree – if that be our call, without demeaning the bearer of the words.
“Amid the colliding words injured by the words injuring our words:
“Lord, help us listen to Your words.
Like you listen to ours.”
Ms. Helen Brown
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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