The summer of my 10th grade year my brother and I went to spend a few weeks with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins in Colorado. While we were there I met my Aunt’s sister, Dasa, who is an especially interesting woman. She is the kind of person who could tell stories for hours and you’d never get bored listening to. I remember this one story she told so clearly because it was amazing to me how God still speaks to his people.
Dasa tells the story that she was in a church service and she felt God impressing on her that she should go comfort the person in front of her and tell them, “everything is going to be alright.” Like most people, Dasa thought she was going crazy and she stayed where she was. She kept getting this urge to comfort the person when suddenly a man who she didn’t know, came from across the room and put his arm around the person and whispered something into that person’s ear. A second later the man turned and walked up to Dasa and said, “it’s okay I took care of it,” and walked away.
That story kind of freaked me out. I have always heard people say that God calls people to do His work and if they don’t then He’ll raise someone else up. This story makes that idea pretty clear.
But have you every consciously tuned someone out? Maybe in a staff meeting or at home, you just consciously started thinking about something else and you stopped listening? I think if we stop listening long enough then we will become selectively deaf. My Aunt’s sister Dasa got a huge reminder to listen to God and these days she doesn’t get around much and listening is what she spends most of here time doing. I was reading the Sermon on the Mount the other day and Jesus said not to go on babbling like the pagans do but to go to a quiet place and pray. Many scholars think that Jesus was referencing to this line in the Torah when he said that, “when you address the Holy One, Blessed be he, let your words be few.” (B’arkhot 61a). The story is a reminder to allow you to hear God.
My question is, if we stop listening, are we then setting our selves up to become deaf to a God who whispers in silence? When you think about it, that guy you tune out when your wife is talking but the TV seems to be louder, or when you simply faze someone out, we are training ourselves to become deaf.
There are many useful classes and skills that you can find on listening. Many lecture and write books, articles and blogs about listening, but what are the consequences if we stop listening?
Who have you made the effort to stop listening to? When was the last time you listened to God? When was the last time your words were few? I wonder if this is why Jesus always walked around saying, “he who has an ear, let him hear.”