Are You Listening?

“But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry to Him reached His ears.” (Psalm 18:6 NLT)

Why is it sometimes so difficult to hear God’s voice? Jesus said in John 10:27: “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” The word Jesus used that we translate “listen” means “to hearken or to give audience,” but can also mean “to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf.”

Could it be we fail to hear His voice because we’re not listening? So often in the hectic schedules we follow we’re constantly texting or calling or receiving texts or calls while we’re doing other things. We might like to think of it as “multi-tasking,” but it can also be called “not listening” or “partial listening.” I’m old school and I’m doing well if I can listen to the radio while I drive.

When I’m reading the Bible, studying, or writing, the shuffle of my wife’s feet as she walks through the house distracts me. It’s not unusual for me to have to re-read something two or three times to make sure I’m “hearing” what’s being said.

Lisa Lakey, a Family Life devotional writer said it this way: “Truth? I naturally tend to tune in to what interests me most … and tune out everything else. But sometimes it goes even deeper. Resentment and unresolved conflict also seem to have a noise-cancelling effect when I’m listening to my husband. If I know my husband is really hearing me, I feel loved, cherished, valued, and understood. It communicates that I deserve his attention and he desires to understand my heart. And that sense of priority cuts both ways. Listening is a practical, everyday way to place the needs of others above my own. God Himself listens to my cries when I pray to Him, as David reminds us in Psalm 18:6. Just as God listens to me, I long to listen to my spouse—beyond the sound waves hitting my ears.

Foundationally, hearing God’s voice, or anyone else’s for that matter, requires not only attention, but desire. We have to want to hear God speak. We have to believe what our spouse, child, friend, or anyone else says is worth hearing. And this isn’t a simple process. How we listen often depends on what we want to hear.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

When I was younger, I had kidney stones far more often than I care to recount. I remember being in such agony by the time I reached the ER, then having to wait to be seen, then wait while they took blood, then wait for the results, all the while begging them to give me something for my pain. I didn’t want to hear “we’re just making sure that’s what you need.” All I wanted to hear was: “This shot will help you with your pain!”

It’s not so different when someone has lost a loved one or has a chronic condition that medicine no longer addresses. All we want is an answer, not “spiritual mumbo jumbo.” “Why doesn’t God DO something!” becomes the echoing cry of our heart! And the answer that is reverberating in my spirit is so simple, yet, so profound when the Master’s voice responds: “I have! I’m here!”

Spiritual “mumbo jumbo?” No! His presence! It’s the relief that begins when the doctor comes in and says: “We found the source of your pain, and this is what we’re going to do about it!” Even before the medicine is administered, there is a sigh of relief that you’ve been heard, and help is coming.

You’ve been heard, my friend, and help is coming! You’re not alone in your pain. Jesus, the Healer, is with you, but He’s also engineering circumstances to put someone with “skin” to intersect your life. It may be a doctor, a person at church, even someone in your family who has dealt with what you’re experiencing, but God’s presence will be made manifest in someone to love and care for you. Please don’t miss them because you’re not “listening!”

Blessings, Ed 😊

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