Listen

I have spent all but a few hours of this weekend neck-deep in a remodel project by myself. Other than a few aggravated outbursts and a couple of phone calls, it was very quiet.

It was a good time to listen.

I listened to two audiobooks all the way through.

I listened to several podcast episodes.

I listened to a couple of great albums and a favorite playlist.

I listened to the difference in the sound of my table saw with a new blade.

I listened to the wind bludgeoning the bamboo wind chime on the back porch with its own arms like a schoolyard bully.

I listened to the air compressor refilling again and again and again in order to keep the nail gun at the ready.

I heard the crackle of the old man knees as I hit the tile floor yet again.

But more than anything else, I listened for instruction and direction from a wise Teacher who always whispers the right word at the precise moment that it needs to be spoken… but never before.

I’ve been the one trying to learn from another’s experience many times. I’ve been in that place where you need to watch closely and listen attentively. When you’re working with a true craftsman, you have to wait for their instruction.

But what I have learned is that, even though it may seem like the Craftsman has forgotten that you’re there to learn… He hasn’t. He is showing you, shaping you, inviting you to remain and observe and… listen.

Maybe you, like me, are going through a season of intense listening.

May I offer a word of advice? 

Listen well.

He has a tendency to speak at times and in ways that we might never see coming.

Listen well.

I’m reminded of the prophet Elijah who (on the heels of an enormous victory, mind you) ran off into the wilderness in fear of a raging queen’s wrath. God told him to stand out on the mountain side and then we see this odd passage:

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.

1 Kings 19.11-12

Sometimes don’t you just wish God would speak to you like He did to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai—with thunder and lightning and fire and smoke? Elijah saw crazy winds that were breaking rocks and an earthquake that shook the mountain beneath his feet and the intensity of a raging forest fire. But he heard God whisper in the quiet.

I suggest to you that most of the noise that keeps us from hearing God is either in our heads or from our devices.

May I suggest an exercise?

Take 5 or 10 minutes and shut off all of the sounds that you control. On a piece of paper make a list of sounds you hear… the refrigerator running, the fan on your computer, your heartbeat, the garbage truck passing outside, birds, etc. When your list slows down, with your inner voice (not out loud), ask God what He wants you to hear today. Just sit with Him for a moment.

If you lean in, I bet you can hear His heart beat.

Don’t miss this opportunity to just… listen.

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