Based on John 10:27, we know that those who hear God:
- Have a relationship with Jesus. (My sheep; I know them)
- Are receptive to hearing from him. (listen to my voice)
- Are willing to walk in faith to follow him. (they follow me)
Last week I explored having a relationship with Jesus and this week, I’m exploring what it means to be receptive to hearing from him. The best way for me to understand this is to think about conversations with my daughter. What comes to mind is the difference between trying to have a conversation with her at the airport as we are about to get on a plane and trying to have a conversation with her at the beach while we are on vacation.
At the airport, I am pulling my suitcase and carrying a backpack and my purse. There are people rushing all around us to catch their flights. I’m trying to find our flight number on the big electronic board so we can get to the right gate. We arrived at the airport a little late and so we are in a hurry to make it in time for our seating area to board. The flight is a couple hours and we don’t have anything to eat. My daughter’s hand is in mine, but I’m practically dragging her, forcing her little legs to keep pace. If, in the midst of all this, she were to start a conversation with me, I would be distracted, half-listening and looking away, as I continued to chart our course to the gate, perhaps missing a word here and there, and asking her to speak louder so I could hear her over the noise coming from every direction.
On the beach, we are alone. The sun is rising and we can hear every step on the damp sand. We carry nothing, simply walking hand-in-hand, breathing deeply, with nowhere to be. I can feel the shape and temperature of her hand. When she lets go to throw a rock into the water, I feel the last touch and sudden emptiness. I notice she has a tiny scratch on her cheek and that she has grown taller. When I hug her, I flash back to the moment I held her first. If she were to say something, it would be effortless for me to listen, I have been so in tune with her already. I could look at her full-on and there would be nothing pulling me away. I would absorb every word and all the feeling behind each one. I would be able to respond with love and the fullest attention.
So much of hearing God is about getting out of the airport. Most of us live there – metaphorically, I mean. We rush around, distracted, fists wrapped around our baggage. I most often hear God when I’m in the busyness of life, but only because I have been with him in the slowness of time. Here are some things I do to be receptive to hearing God no matter where I am:
- Set aside time to be with him. Alone. Where I feel every movement and notice his presence. Otherwise, I’m always in the airport.
- Read Scripture every day. Not like it’s the newspaper or my Facebook news feed. My goal isn’t to get through it as fast as possible, but to read it and then just be quiet. I don’t have a major revelation every day and there are days when I am distracted, don’t understand, or feel disconnected from what I’m reading.
- Pray. This looks more like a conversation than a grocery list. Sometimes I use a Psalm and just read it aloud slowly. Sometimes I just say, “Father in heaven,” and nothing more. Things that most often keep me from praying: unbelief, fear, pride, busyness.
- Walk with expectation. I expect to hear from God every day. And I do, through Scripture, through other people, through circumstances, and through whispers in my soul.
Have you heard from God? What were you doing?
Is there something you could take out of your schedule so you can make time and space to hear God?