I remember a few times when I was raising my children that they would catch me in the middle of something I was working on and try to talk with me. They may have talked for five minutes with me saying things like, “Uh, Huh” or “Okay.” Finally, they would get frustrated and ask me if I was listening. Of course, I’d assure them that I was, but I know I was only half listening because I was so distracted by the task at hand.
Sometimes I think we’re like that with God. We tell Him that we want to listen for His voice, but most of the time we’re distracted. We’re too busy to really hear what He is saying. In fact, it’s possible that God is trying to talk with us all the time, but we’re too busy and we’re not hearing Him.
What does it mean to really listen? When we really listen to God or to people we love most in the world, we do three things. We stop doing anything else and we become fully engaged in hearing them with both ears. We listen with more than our ears though; we listen heart to heart. After we’ve stopped everything else, and when we’ve begun to listen with our hearts, we’re able to share in the conversation. We’re able to consider ideas and give feedback.
After my stroke experiences, I learned that I couldn’t engage with life by using half-hearted measures. I could not allow myself to become too distracted because the work of recovery was difficult. I learned that if I was willing to surrender to that work, I could hear God’s voice in the midst of my trials and my efforts. I could feel His love and recognize His Presence and it helped me to heal. As serious as I was about getting better, healing my body and doing the work of recovery, I was even more serious about being a listener. I longed for God’s voice every step of the way. I knew that the more I surrendered to Him, the more He could help me with the work ahead of me. I didn’t want to simply hear Him; I wanted to listen so that I could draw closer to Him each day.
When you hear God approaching you, stop everything you’re doing and listen with your whole heart. He knows exactly what you need to hear.
Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.
Ezekiel 3:10, NKJV