Part of my spiritual journey was working towards a B.A. degree in Religious Studies. During that period, our family moved and settled into a new church, which was an ideal fit. One particular morning, I asked God for clarity on what He wanted me to do with my growing understanding of Scripture.
Inside minutes, the church events director called with three requests. One, would I sing a solo at a luncheon? The second was to share a devotional for a ladies' gathering, and finally, to say grace at a congregational supper. My reaction was tentative: "I am apprehensive. I am not exactly prepared. Sorry!"
Soon afterward, a gentle voice whispered, "You asked, and I listened. I replied, but you did not hear."
Selective hearing seems to sneak into most marriages somewhere between the honeymoon and "Honey, would you unload the dishwasher?" With a sports enthusiast spouse, if emptying the dishwasher competes with "And the score is …" you know what will get heard and what will not.
If this habit creeps into our prayer life, it can debilitate our relationship with God. To ask our Master to hear and answer our requests for guidance in decision-making, then to selectively block out the responses that we do not want to hear, is sinful. God's Word is fundamental in shaping our walk as Christ's supporters. Obeying His every word is indispensable. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27 NIV)
Clearly, selective hearing had not escaped me. I promptly got back to the director, enlightening her concerning my prayer, and inquiring whether I could change my "No" to an unassuming "Yes". It was a lesson that I will never forget. God knew that I was ready. I should have known that He does not embarrass His children.
Friends, how often have you prayed for clarity and heard only the words that you wanted to hear? God's plans for our lives go far beyond what we can imagine. The key is to listen and obey. Remember God's faithfulness with us and His promise:
Jeremiah 29:11-12 – "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." (NIV)
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, please forgive us for all the times that we have turned a deaf ear when You have spoken. From today forward, may every word that You say be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Let The Lower Lights Be Burning" (Lyrics)