Listening Is More Than Hearing…
And Understanding Is More Than Listening!
The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing.
I once posted a joke on my MandysPath social media page called “The Boat”. It goes something like this:
There was an old man sitting on his porch watching the rain fall. Pretty soon the water was coming over the porch and into the house.
The old man was still sitting there when a rescue boat came and the people on board said, ”You can’t stay here. You have to come with us.”
The old man replied, “No, God will save me.” So the boat left.
A little while later the water was up to the second floor, and another rescue boat came, and again told the old man that he needed to come with them.
The old man again replied, “No, God will save me.” So the second boat left him again.
An hour later the water was up to the roof and a third rescue boat approached the old man, and tried to get him to come with them.
Again, the old man refused to leave stating that, “God will save me.” So the third boat left him alone once more.
Soon after, the man drowns and goes to heaven, and when he sees God he asks Him, “Why didn’t you save me?”
God replied, “You dummy, I tried. I sent three boats after you!”
Now I intended this joke to be funny…. as it probably was intended when it was written. But as the day wore on and as I began to think about it more and more, I realized that there is a tremendous amount of truth in the punch line. How many people miss God’s boat or lifeline entirely because they either fail to hear the message or else they disregard it, choosing, instead, to continue forward through life in their own, willful way?
Now there are people who look at me like I’ve got three heads when I say that I can hear Him. They assume I must mean that I read His inspired word in the Bible. They don’t think it is possible that He speaks to me, to which my only reply must be Mark 4:9 NIV, ‘Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”’ But having ears to hear and really listening… and then understanding… are two entirely different things. I listen when He speaks to me because I not only choose to hear but I look to find His messages in the million more subtle things that take place all around me, every single second.
Here is a perfect illustration to emphasize the point I am trying for right now. I grew up in small town America, complete with a train station that was no longer used but when I was a child, the train continued riding the tracks all the way from Philadelphia to the Jersey Shore. And yet I never heard its rumble because I was so used to the sound, it became relegated to the background, unheard and unnoticed. However, people visiting one day commented on the clattering noise, which surprised me. But then as I thought about their words, I began to realize that they were right, and I wondered how it was that I didn’t notice, or even think about the rumble of that train anymore.
Just as we develop selective hearing as we grow older, which can be the salvation of any person who has had to learn to cope with the shouts of children’s voices in play, so must we know when the shouts of a child’s play becomes a shout of pain from a skinned knee or other boo boo! Hearing God’s voice is no different. It’s simply a matter being able to distinguish between hearing those things that are pieces of information that we already know and then listening and really embracing those things that have the capacity to be life changing. And I am willing to bet that those are the times He is choosing to speak to you. Yes, remember that it is entirely possible that He is sending you a life boat. Will you recognize it as it sails near and will you know when it is time to step into it?
“However, there will be no poor among you, since the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, if only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. “For the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.
Deuteronomy 15:4-6 NASB
Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry