How is your hearing? In the early morning, I often sit outside with my coffee and just listen to the sounds around me. As I listen, I notice that most of the sounds are singing birds. At first, the sounds are just a cacophony of noise but the longer I listen the more distinct each bird’s sound becomes. This experience is one of my most treasured times in the day. Just sitting, listening, and hearing the world around me. It is in this time, that I realize that these sounds are more than just the call of birds, the kiss of wind, or the scamper of a squirrel. Because it is in hearing these sounds that I realize how much God is all around me.
Listening to Voices
As I was thinking about this concept earlier this week, the Emperor Penguins came to mind. Emperors are monogamous but more interesting is that it is the male bird who sits and cares for the egg until it hatches. Every year, when the mating season ends, the female Emperors take off for the ocean in one large flock and travel for several hundreds of miles to get fish to sustain themselves and their new chick for a year. The males in the meantime place the egg between their feet to keep it from breaking along with keeping it warm in the cold winter wind.
When the females return, sometimes by the thousands, they must find their mate in an equally large crowd. There is no nest or house and the males certainly move around while their female mate is gone. The way they find each other is through the sound of their call. Upon hearing their families’ voice, the flock of thousands sorts themselves out through the noise by listening to the voice of the one they belong to. It is quite miraculous.
It is incredible that all these penguin voices that sound alike can single out the one they need. However, we too as humans, also have a distinct selective hearing and can often recognize our own child’s voice in a crowded room and children can, in turn, do likewise.
It is the same with God. He can hearÂ each voice among the billions as He listens to our calls for Him. We, in turn, can hear His voice by listening carefully to the sights and sounds of His creations. There is no limit to the many ways He can communicate with us if we are listening and attentive to His messages in whatever way they may come.
The Good Shepherd
The scripture often relates Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The shepherd that listens for His sheep and the shepherd whose sheep hear Him. An Anglican priest touring in the Holy Land received a great understanding of why Christ is like a Shepherd. As he was traveling one day, he saw several different flocks of sheep converging together to reach a place for water. He watched as the flocks merged together as a big mass of white wool. He couldn’t imagine how the shepherds would ever separate them.
But to his amazement, after the sheep finished drinking, each shepherd gave out a cry, a seemingly unique call. And within moments the sheep divided back into their original herds. The sheep set out to find their shepherd.
When we, as followers of Christ, set out to find our Shepherd in each day, we learn quickly that the world is alive with His presence. God is not only there in the beauty and the birds of the earth but also in the tragedies and grief. He can take it all and weave it into a pattern for good. When we listen carefully for God, as someone recently told me, we can not only hear God, but see, feel, and most importantly Trust Him.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (NLT)
Hearing Him requires Listening
To know and realize that God is all around you and ready to speak, you must seek to listen and follow Him. It is important to recognize that no matter what is going on in your life that God surrounds you and is waiting for you to listen to Him carefully, see Him clearly, and know that He is there. Rest assured knowing that with God all things work together for those who seek, listen, love, and follow Him. (Romans 8:28)
Listening to God isn’t as difficult as people perhaps make it. For all too often, prayers consist of a one-way conversation instead of learning to be quiet long enough for God to speak. Nicky Gumbel, in his book Questions of Life, points out the necessary importance of listening to God when talking to Him by comparing it to a visit to the doctor.
A man goes to the doctor and quickly informs her of all his ailments, listing one right after the other; skin issues, itchy eyes, flu, backache, and tennis elbow. As soon as he finishes his list of complaints the man looks at his watch and says, ”Goodness me, time is getting on. Well, I must be off. Thanks, very much for listening.” The doctor might want to ask, ”Don’t you want to listen to what I have to say?”Â If you speak to God in this way and never take the time to listen, you make the same mistake.
He is Ready to Speak, Are You Ready to Hear?
Listening and hearing God challenges you to find Him even among the ashes of life. Whether you are on the mountain or in the valley He is there and ready to speak if you are ready to listen. Find your convictions and motivations in knowing that He is with you always and cares deeply for you. And allow the comfort of knowing that if you seek Him, you will find Him surrounding you love. Hearing God requires you to be still but it is through hearing that you can see and feel Him, ultimately allowing you to place your trust in Him.
Love in Christ,
Nature never taught me that there exists a God of glory and of infinite majesty. I had to learn that in other ways. But nature gave the word glory, a meaning for me.
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Credits Gumbel, N. (2011). Questions of Life. Royersford, PA, USA: Alpha Publishing House. Young, S. (2011). Jesus Calling. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
What are your thoughts? Join the Discussion
Do you practice listening and hearing God daily? Do you see and feel His presence in your life no matter the circumstances? Share your thoughts and revelations on hearing God in your everyday life.