Always Ready to Listen

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

A few years ago, a good friend from high school was diagnosed with cancer. At that time, I had been in touch and prayed for him regularly. He had recovered and it had been a while since we talked, so I decided to give him a call. During our conversation, he spoke at length about the journey he had been on since his remission. Then he went on to say, “There are times that I miss that period when I was so sick and receiving treatments.” I was somewhat shocked by his comment and gently asked him to clarify what he meant.  He said that prior to his illness, he had an established routine. After his diagnosis, he had no regular schedule. There were times that he had to totally rely on the medical professionals and his family for directing his care. It was during this time that he realized how dependent he was on God for healing, if that was to be His will.  Now that he has recovered – he has resumed a daily schedule, although different than before.  He went on to say – “you know when you are in a day-to-day routine, it can become monotonous, and you have to be careful you don’t lose sight of God.”  I think I understood.

In the ensuing days, His point of the importance of maintaining a direct line to God became clearer to me. It was during a frustrating attempt to install a new modem-router to alleviate a monthly cable company rental charge that I became more enlightened.  After making the purchase and connecting the basic inputs – I followed the provided instructions and called the provider to solicit technical support to activate the new hardware.  Bottom line, it took me several hours over the course of three days with four different agents to get everything working properly. In the end, I was finally referred to an individual who resolved my outstanding issues within a short period of time. Lessons learned: 1. Whatever you pay may not necessarily get you where you want to go; 2. Making the right connection is important for everything to function the way it should; 3. You have to find an individual on the other end who is willing to listen and hear the concerns you are experiencing; and 4. You must ultimately locate someone who has the right level of expertise to be able to address those concerns.

Apply all of this, if you will, to our relationship with God.  Take price, for instance. For all who are willing to accept the gift, the cost of that connection has already been paid in full through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God…” (1 Corinthians 6:20). There is no separation between God and us as there was in Jesus’ day when there was a veil in the temple. It was here that only priests could intervene for us in a place known as the Holiest of Holies. But because of the shed blood of Jesus, “through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:18). Therefore, when we ask for help – we can be assured of His living presence. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that “if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14). While we can always seek the support from ‘earthly professionals’ – try finding a better expert to address our needs than the God of Creation. For, “It is he who made us, and we are his” (Psalm 100:3). He understands what we require more than anyone else could.

Every one of us has at one time or other made a phone call to the direct line of an individual, needing and fully expecting to get an answer on the other end. Frequently, however, our resulting connection is only to their voicemail. With God, it’s far less technical. His ‘direct line’ is only a prayer away; He is practical and has the listening ear that we need. But as is often said, effective communication is a two-way street. Pastor and author Max Lucado wrote: “The next time you find yourself alone in a dark alley facing the undeniables of life, don’t cover them with a blanket, or ignore them with a nervous grin. Don’t turn up the TV and pretend they aren’t there. Instead, stand still, whisper his name, and listen. He is nearer than you think.” Remember that on any ordinary day, the Lord may send a revelation of encouragement, guidance, or instruction to us through the scriptures or another person. As my friend so aptly expressed – we can’t allow ourselves to get so consumed in the day-to-day routine that we lose sight of the fact that God is constantly beside us . . . and that He is always ready to listen.

REFLECTION:  Do you take full advantage of your everyday access to God, or do you wait for those times of desperation to reach out? What are some ways you might draw closer by including Him as a part of your daily routine? How will you monitor your activities to make sure you maintain a regular connection?

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