August 28, 2010

To Live is Christ — listening

Last night we ate in a crowded pub in Canmore, not for the spirits but because the food is good. Everyone was talking loud and laughing. The noise was almost earplug level, yet no one voice was distinguishable. This made me think of all the voices in the world. What is it like for God? How does He manage to hear the prayers of millions?

Later we watched a documentary about a country where many languages are spoken. What must it sound like in the streets and marketplaces? Can anyone pick out the sound of their own language in a myriad of languages? Would I recognize a friend calling my name through such a din?

In a movie about penguins in the Antarctica, I learned that each parent can distinguish the sound of their own chick, even though hundreds of them are making noises. It is similar on a crowded playground. All the children are talking and yet a mother will hear her own child through all of that chatter.

When it comes to hearing the voice of God, how am I doing? Can I hear Him in a crowded eatery amid the noise of happy beer drinkers? Can I hear Him in a foreign place where everyone is speaking unknown languages? Can I hear Him when He is speaking to me in particular, with a word that I need for that moment in time? 

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son . . .  (Hebrews 1:1–2)
He has spoken, and He still speaks. In fact, Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

This is part of my experience and I am very accustomed to Him speaking to me. Yet if I step back and look at this objectively, I’d have to think one of two things; either I am as crazy as a bronc with a burr under its saddle, or this is the most awesome privilege that could ever happen. Jesus Christ speaking to me? Utterly astounding!

How do I know His voice? Apart from the fact that He said I would be able to hear Him, I read the Bible daily and have for almost forty years. This is His Word. If anyone who knows Him becomes familiar with the written version, it is much easier to detect the “whisper in my heart” version. Also, as I take time to listen in times of silence, it is easier to hear when it is noisy. As I pay attention when I am alone, His voice is clearer in a crowd.

Language isn’t a problem. He does not limit Himself to “King James only” nor does He always use words. Sometimes He simply smiles (or frowns), and on a few occasions, He chuckles or roars with laughter.

To those who know Jesus, conversation with Him has no equal. This is God Himself speaking to His people through His Son. I am humbled and blessed that He speaks to me.

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