Monday, January 18, 2010

Am I really hearing what I am supposed to?

I had one of those moments this weekend that they never tell you about when you first become a father.  My fourteen-year-old daughter has inclinations toward being either a veterinarian, a nurse, or a midwife.  In one of her "medical moments" she decided to inspect the ears of her little brother with a flashlight.  Upon seeing a strange green glow, she brought my youngest son into my office and declared that there was something green glowing in his ear.  I took the flashlight from her -- mustering up the four years experience that I had working in a hospital -- and looked into my son's ear to see a glowing green Airsoft BB lodged deeply in my son's ear canal.

I debated for a few moments how to extract it.  I took a pair of pliers and made a small hook on the end of a paperclip but quickly realized that my depth perception was not good enough to know exactly how far the paperclip would be inserted in the ear canal -- so I abandoned that method.  I sent another sister looking for a long pair of tweezers, but suspected I would have the same problem there. Finally, I use a large bulb syringe filled with water and after about four attempts was able to flush the Airsoft BB from my son's ear.

The fascinating thing is that my son had no remembrance of putting an Airsoft BB in his ear, or having ever been shot in his ear.  The Airsoft BB was covered in a small amount of wax -- indicating that it had been hidden in his ear for a while.  So we have no way of knowing how long he has been going around with this Airsoft BB lodged in his ear canal.  After removing it from his ear, he later commented that he was hearing better than he had heard in a while.

Now from the ridiculous to the profound... am I really hearing what I am supposed to be hearing?  Has God been trying to speak to me, but something is blocking my ability to hear Him?  I have often heard young men say that they really cannot hear God telling them what to do with regards to a decision about their future.  I have wondered privately whether there was something in their lives that prevented them from hearing the voice of God.  But we do not just need to hear the voice of God during times of major decisions.  We should be listening to Him all the time.  But it only takes a little thing to block our spiritual hearing.

Are there any spiritual Airsoft BBs in your life?  Does work demand your attention each day before you spend any time in the word of God? Have you already determined your future plans without checking with God?  After a day of coping with the mundane or accomplishing the impossible, do you find yourself just needing to relax for a few moments with a movie or sitcom?  Or do you do something good -- like spending time with your family -- but ignore spending time with the most important member of your family -- your Heavenly Father?  It only takes a little stubbornness, a little pride, a little lust, a little greed, or a little selfishness to stop up our spiritual hearing and prevent us from hearing the voice of God.

So what is the cure?  The best thing is to stop and take time to flush out our spiritual hearing with the water of the Word of God.  Listen to it, read it, think about it, and chew on it.  Let it become a part of you.

This is easier said than done -- especially when you are a busy man, perhaps working two jobs.  Here are some suggestions that may help others of you that live life in the fast lane:
  • Remember that you will get more done each day if you do the important things first.  Make reading God's Word and praying about what you find there your first priority each morning.  If you put it off until the evening, it will likely go undone.
  • Listen to the Bible in audio.  I have it loaded on my Blackberry phone, and can also play it from iTunes.  This gives me an opportunity to listen to the word of God in "stolen moments."  Last week, I had to sit for more than an hour in the waiting room of an automotive repair shop.  I plugged in my headphones and listened to the Bible from my Blackberry.  When I am straightening my desk at home, is a great time to listen to the Bible, Focus on the Family, or good solid Bible teaching from a great preacher.  While I am going back and forth in my office, shredding documents, putting books back on the bookshelf, clearing papers from my desk, and paying bills, my soul is still being fed with rich spiritual treasures.
  • Have an accountability partner who will ask you about your devotional life.  The devil is not worried about Christians who are consistently inconsistent in their devotions.  But it terrifies him when a Christian develops solid spiritual habits and begins to hear from the Lord on a regular basis.  May God grant us all the grace to strike terror in the minds of demons.
  • If a church near you has Faith Bible Institute, enroll!  The homework assignments will give you a plan for your devotional time as well as some accountability to keep it.  And it would be difficult for you to find better quality Bible teaching anywhere.    Check it out at http://www.faithbibleinstitute.com/Faith_Bible_Institute/Home.html.

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