Not Missing a Single Word
Scriptures: Song of Solomon Isaiah 30:21 John 17:21-23
The words were spoken softly, full of expression, holding us all in their thrall. Our eyes never once left her face as we sat at our wooden desks, while we listened as she read, once again, from one of the child’s classics that she loved so dearly. We listened intently with our whole beings, not wanting to miss one word. The words sank deep into our hungry souls, feeding our imagination, enriching our learning far beyond what we could then understand. We were being taught to listen, deeply and intentionally to listen, no matter how softly and quietly the words were uttered.
Most of us are constantly aware of the sounds going on around us. We hear the clamour of voices, traffic, machinery, household appliances. Continuous sounds fill our days. We hear them without even needing to think about them, they are there, surrounding us wherever we go. Amidst all this noise, have we forgotten the art, the skill, of truly listening?
There are beautiful, tender images of how to truly listen, with every fibre of our being, in Song of Solomon. "Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold thou art fair, thou hast dove's eyes.",
"His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set."
Doves are able to use, what is known as, binocular vision, so that their eyes focus on one thing at a time. As they coo gently to each other, their eyes lock together, their focus rivetted upon each other and nothing else. And God has graciously given us this witness to the way He desires that our relationship with Him should be.
As He pierces through the clangour of the noise in our daily lives with His still, small voice, we need to know how to listen, not simply hear, but truly, intently and intentionally listen. And it takes learning that demands patience, diligence and, most of all, deep desire on our part to know clearly what He is saying to us.
Our learning involves relinquishing, over and over, our impatience, our habit of putting our own “spin” on what He is saying through His Word. It involves locking our eyes with God’s, striving, with our focus totally upon Him, to allow His Word to soak deeply into our heart and soul.
With the saints of old we are able to tune in to the soft tones of our Father; we can hear that precious Voice whispering in our ear “This is the way, walk in it”. No longer need we doubt His Presence with us. We can know with certainty that we are one with Him, fulfilling the words of Jesus “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
Then the most wonderful change begins to happen. Listening is such a precious act of Love. God always listens to us, as if we were the only ones speaking to Him. As we learn to listen to our Father, as we participate in the outworking of His act of Love, we realise we have to let it overflow out of us. For us to follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Saviour, we, too, have to listen to those around us. Just as it is God’s delight to listen to us, we need to show the same delight in this act of Love to each other, by focussing, being attentive, not interrupting or voicing our own interpretation of what is being said.
Our attitude must mirror God’s. Our eyes gazing at the person in front of us, not being distracted by anything that is happening around us as we actively listen to the heart of the one speaking. Through practice, learning and more practice, listening to our Father God becomes part of our way of life. Then it becomes our privilege to do our best to use this skill to listen whenever and to whomever Father God chooses to put across our path.
Prayer: Abba Father, Open our ears and hearts to listen to You as You gently guide and guard us, as You walk every step of the journey with us, wrapping us in Your Righteousness and Love, in Jesus Name we pray, Amen