Today’s Truth “The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8:15 NIV).
Friend To Friend Have you ever thought about how frustrated God must feel when He calls out to us and gets no response? The Lord taught me a little lesson in how to be a better listener through a gift from my son.
When Steven was thirteen, twelve years ago, he thought I was still living in the Dark Ages because I didn’t have a cell phone. But I didn’t want a cell phone. My car was one place where I could get away from the telephone’s constant pull on my attention, so I settled for being a little archaic. Besides, he really just wanted me to have one so he could call into the radio station and win prizes on our drive to school each morning.
Boy, was I surprised that Christmas when I opened my lovely present from Steven to discover a flip-top cell phone purchased with his own money. How could I not appear grateful for a gift from my own child (that sly dog)? Of course he convinced my husband to pay the monthly fees. “After all,” he argued, “it is much too dangerous for a woman to be driving around town without a cell phone.”
“Thank you, Steven,” I said. “Now whenever Dad and I are out and you are home alone, I can call you anytime, from anyplace, to see what you’re doing.” From the look on his face, I could tell that the thought had never crossed his mind.
A few weeks later I decided to try out my new toy.
“Steven, this is Mom. Dad and I are in the car. When I hang up, I want you to call this number and let’s see if the phone works.”
We waited about three minutes, but the phone never rang.
“Steven, this is Mom again. What happened?”
“I called the number,” he explained, “but the operator said that your phone was turned off or that you were out of the calling area.”
I decided to call the cell phone company to find out what had happened.
“Let me explain something,” said the technical assistant. “A cellular phone works by sending out and receiving radio waves from a cell tower. You were at a point on the road that dips and forms a small valley, and the radio waves could not reach down into the dip for you to receive the signal. Another possibility is that your message was being blocked by a large building. And finally, Mrs. Jaynes, was your battery powered up? Have you charged it lately?”
“Yes,” I answered. “I charged it today.”
“And was the antenna up?” (This was when cell phones actually had antennae.)
“Yes,” I said. “The antenna was up.”
Finally I asked, “Why could I send a call, but I could not receive a call?”
“Because it takes more call strength to receive a call, than to send one,” she explained.
I was more than frustrated with this two-by-six-inch piece of plastic, but it made me consider other transmissions that I had trouble receiving from time to time. John 10:27 says that the Lord speaks to His sheep and His sheep hear His voice. But why do I have so much trouble hearing from God? Could it be the same reasons that I have poor reception with my cell phone?
If I’m having trouble hearing from God, I have to ask myself the same questions that the technical assistant asked me. Am I in a dip in the road? Sometimes a valley of depression can clog my spiritual ears in such a way that I don’t hear His gentle voice coaxing me to higher ground. Then, I need to start singing praises like David did in the Psalms and watch Him turn my valley into a level path.
Have I erected walls that are blocking God’s signals: walls of materialism, selfish ambition, or religion? If so I need to tear them down. Is my battery pack powered up? If not, I need to plug into the Word and get recharged. Is my antenna raised or have I put it down like the Israelites who, because of fear, told Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us.” (Exodus 20:19 NIV). If I want to hear from Him, I need to make sure my spiritual antenna is up and that I am expectantly waiting to hear His voice.
Finally, why is it that I can sometimes place a call but often have trouble receiving one? I can go before the Lord at any time and He hears me. Though it doesn’t take more power to receive a message from Him, it does take more effort on my part to be receptive. In our fast-paced world, it takes more effort to be still and listen than it does to speak. But I need to realize that what God has to say to me is much more important than anything I have to say to Him.
I held my little flip-top phone in the palm of my hand and thanked God for showing me once again how to hear His voice. What I realized was that hearing from Him was more than just receiving; it was also about making sure I was receptive.
Let’s Pray Dear Lord, help me to hear Your voice when You speak. If there are walls that I have erected that are blocking me from hearing You, please show me what they are so that I can tear them down. Fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit today. Charge my spiritual battery! Thank You for giving me two ears and only one mouth, and teach me to use each one appropriately.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn I love this quote: “If you’re talking, you’re not learning anything.” – Lolita B. West (Former elementary school teacher).
Journal about a time when you felt like you could not hear God’s voice. What was this experience like? How did it make you feel not to be able to hear the Shepherd’s voice leading you? Did you feel scared, anxious, or frustrated?
I challenge you to take a few minutes to be still before the Lord today. That’s right. Do not talk. Do not move a muscle (but don’t fall asleep!). Simply get still and quiet at His feet. Many times our biggest struggle is that we are so busy talking to Him that we aren’t learning anything from Him. Just like a disruptive child in a classroom, when we do all the talking, the Teacher cannot teach us or anyone else!
I’d love to hear how God is speaking to you!
Today’s devotion was taken from Sharon’s book, If you would like to learn more about how to hear God through the Bible, prayer, creation, circumstances and other people, then this book is for you. In it, Sharon also teaches about Road Blocks that hinder hearing from God and how to remove them. Also, make sure and check out the featured summer resource.