by Deborah McCormick Maxey
Speak Lord. Your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:9 NIV
Please Lord, enlarge my ears, so I can hear you better!
Our house overlooks a lake. On any morning, in every season, we sit outside and listen to the bevy of bird songs around us. My goodness, they can be so loud! I especially love the jungle type sound of the pileated woodpeckers, and the melodious coo of the doves. There are tons of birds in our cove. Sometimes the “caw caw caw” of a murder of crows drowns out every other species when they begin to “scold” as something around them has been disturbed. At other times, a low ceiling in the atmosphere causes us to hear the sounds of large trucks on a distant highway or the lonesome sound of a train whistle that is even further away. But I always go back to tuning into the sounds of the birds and watching which birds make which noise as they approach the feeders near our deck.
Tuning into birds is very much like tuning into God. We must turn down the other noises first to hear Him. Noises that tempt us to do something first, other than read His Word, pray, do acts of service, or go to church. Extraneous things sound loud at times. We reason or justify the noises that eventually drown out His voice. We didn’t sleep well, what if we fall asleep in church? Would it be better to just stay home? We feel a call to donate to a cause and start to rationalize: wasn’t that the same charity that got caught with their administration’s hands in the till just a few years ago?
Many noises can stop us from hearing. We set our priorities wrong, or we have a vain goal that we push towards and ignore the little urges and signs He sends our way to “hold up.” He wants us to do something different. Ignoring our intuition (one way He speaks to us through His Holy Spirit) can often lead to calamity.
Maybe we would be more responsive to His warnings if we had Hollywood soundtrack music that rang in our ears. You know, the deep moaning tones they use in movies when trouble is afoot? Or upbeat music that signals everything is going great!
But the Lord does indeed use everything to speak to us. We don’t just use our senses to listen! And when we listen, we don’t always obey.
The Holy Spirit speaks, but we must train our brains and hearts to hear. And we must keep asking and listening because God likes diversity. He didn’t tell Moses to strike a rock the second time for water. Moses just took it upon himself to hit a similar rock in the same way, because, well…that worked the first time. But our precious Lord wants us to always be close and listen, to come to Him with everything, all the time. We can’t rely on a formula. What He instructed us to do one time may not be the route He wants us to take the next.
Take the manna from heaven, for example. What a fitting example! God told His people: I will provide for you one day at a time. Don’t try and outfox that. So, when the Israelites tried to store manna, it became full of maggots and was not just inedible, it was disgusting! That story highlights what a close walk God wants with us. He isn’t giving us a map, he’s asking us to use him like a GPS and hear Him while He guides us with constant direction, “Turn this way. Stop here. Watch out, slow moving traffic ahead.”
I marvel at this thought: I ask, and the author of my soul speaks. When I listen, I am connected to the Creator of the Universe, the Holy of Holies, Master of Everything! The Alpha and Omega is speaking to little ole me. What a miracle! I am more than a vapor on the wind to Him. I am important, and He wants to guide me! I’m not insignificant or absentmindedly created, then put on a shelf until I yell for help. Our great omnipotent, sovereign God wants me to know He’s in every second of my life. Me!
This article was brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: A licensed therapist, Deborah McCormick Maxey retired from her counseling practice in 2020 to joyfully invest her energy in writing Christian fiction, devotions, and her website that focuses on miracles.
Deborah’s debut novel, The Endling, is available for preorder on Amazon, due to release (by Firefly Southern Fiction/Iron Stream Media) on May 11, 2021. Native American Emerson Coffee is the last surviving member of her tribe. When US Marshals inform her she’s being hunted by a mob hit man, Emerson declines their offer of witness protection. But when three innocent children become caught in the crosshairs, Emerson must decide if she will risk it all—her mountains, her heritage . . . even her life—to secure their safety.
Join the conversation: Have you ever “heard” from God? Please share your story!