Stop, Look, and Listen

by Sandra Julian Barker

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 NIV

People often call the traffic signal in the middle of the intersection a “stoplight.” Even though the green for “go” light and the amber for “slow and be prepared to stop” are important lights, the red for “stop” is the most important of the three. If we don’t stop when the light is red, we run the danger of a deadly crash with harm to ourselves and those around us. I guess that’s why we so often call it a stoplight.

I’m reminded of a verse in Job where Elihu says to his friend, “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders…God comes in awesome majesty” (Job 37:14, 22 NIV). Elihu was basically saying, “Job, you need to stop, look and listen — consider all the wonders God has created. He’s so awesome!”

Too often, we tend to zip through life without stopping to appreciate the beauty God has placed in the world around us. Stopping to smell the roses is not just an indulgence, it makes life more beautiful, enjoyable and worthwhile.

Then there are times we need to stop what we’re doing and reassess our lives. Does God want you to continue on this road, or does He want you to go in another direction? In the book of Jeremiah, God told His people to “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16 IV). Don’t we all want rest for our souls? A soul at rest is able to think more clearly – to see the path in front of her and examine what the next step should be.

It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life – do what has to be done and then push on to the next thing, because if you don’t do it, no one else will.

But sometimes, we need to stop and peek around the corner before we plunge ahead. Be still and whisper a prayer before taking that next step. You may need an extra dose of God’s guidance and strength to face whatever lies beyond that corner.

In Matthew 20:32-33 NIV, there’s a story of two blind men who called out to Jesus. Scripture tells us, “Jesus stopped…” and asked, “What do you want Me to do for you?” I love that question, because I believe He stands at our heart’s door and asks us that same question: “What do you want Me to do for you?”

The two blind men answered, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” And what did Jesus do? Of course He had compassion on the men and healed them – He opened their eyes so that they could see.

What better answer can we give to Jesus when He asks what we want than to answer, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened!” I’m reminded of the first line of an old hymn, “Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me” (written by Clara H. Scott in 1895). 

Oh, to have our eyes opened to the love of Jesus, the wonder of who He is, the good ways He wants to show us and help us walk, and the joy, peace and rest He offers us along the way.

Lord, help us to stop, look and listen. Help us be still and know that you are wonderful God!

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Sandra Julian Barker is the author of more than a dozen books, numerous magazine articles and a story in the best-selling “Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul.” She has a passion for sharing the love of Christ, encouraging hope and helping others seek God’s path of purpose in their lives.

Sandra’s latest book includes her own story of God’s grace in the face of great tragedy. She blogs at sandra-ramblingrose.blogspot.com/ and is in ministry with womenvictorious.com.

Join the conversation: What have you noticed lately when you took the time to stop, look, and listen?

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