Learning New Ways to Listen
By Jodi Whisenhunt –
I guess I got too good at tuning things out, so God turned off my left ear. I’m hoping it’s temporary, but for the last three months my hearing has been lopsided.
I’ve had concerns for quite some time actually. My ears just don’t work as well as they used to. Often I need to lean in, tilt my head and squint my eyes—yes, that helps—when someone speaks to me. And even then, sometimes I receive the wrong words. Why, not long ago, my husband was conversing with a friend about taking a two-week trip on tandems (bicycles). I heard, “We’ll be traveling twelve days on camels.” Yeah, that’s a little different!
Reduced hearing is hereditary on my father’s side of the family. I remember a time my family visited Niagara Falls with my grandparents. We had spent the day on the Canadian side of the Falls, where my stepmom had purchased candlesticks. Well, Grandpa, whose ears had long before been turned off, was really nervous about crossing back into the States, because he didn’t want to check those gifts through customs. When he stopped the car at the gate, he expected the guard to ask about our purchases. But the guard instead asked, “Did you enjoy your time in Canada?” Grandpa quickly answered, “Oh, just a little candy!” Fortunately for us, the officer had a sense of humor.
So what happened to my ears? Well, to be completely honest, I lived life my way. I made some decisions I thought were alright with God, despite the fact I never truly had peace about them. I marched forward anyway thinking it was an opportunity of a lifetime. I thought surely since the door had been opened I was meant to walk through.
But not all open doors are held by the hand of God.
I’m not saying God physically punished me for disobedience, although He is capable of such things. He did, however, allow certain consequences to occur in response to my lack of faithfulness.
So I am learning new ways to listen:
1) I am attentive to God’s voice. I make conscious effort to hear Him speak. And He almost never shouts.
2) I request discernment. I want to hear His voice and none other. The voice of truth, not of deceit.
3) I get Satan behind me. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7, NIV). Satan is “a stumbling block to me,” so with Jesus’ help I send him away (Matthew 16:23, NIV).
4) I get myself behind me. Personal pride just trips me up. “…not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42, NIV).
5) I obey. I repent and ask forgiveness and then I DO. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22, NKJV).
When it comes to hearing the Lord’s instruction, jumbled reception is not a laughing matter. Romans 10:17 (NKJV) tells us how it works: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
My ear will heal, be it now or when I get home to heaven. In the meantime, I will listen intently.