One of my favorite people in the world is a 5 year old…correction… 6 year old, named Emma. Given that today is her birthday I thought it appropriate to think about her sweet life and lessons she taught me. I met Emma at church soon after we moved to Florida. Literally 6 months passed before she would talk to me. Granted, she had just turned 3 at the time, but I wanted to be her friend. No matter how hard I tried she would have nothing to do with me.
Then one day it happened. We were at a birthday party for a 1 year old (yes, several of our friends are under the age of 5), and Emma approached me to show off a grasshopper she had caught. I was so excited that after 6 months of silence I was now in her good graces.
We have spent a lot of time together over the past 2 ½ years. One of our favorite past times was having sleepovers. She has spent more nights in our house than any other guest. There was a princess poster on the guest bedroom door that said “Emma.” The nightstand had extra pajamas, books, and a nightlight. The bathroom cabinet housed at least one of her toothbrushes and combs. We would keep her as our own but have decided her mom and dad would probably miss her.
Each time before Emma came over her mom would ask if she had her “listening ears” on. She would then proceed to check both of her ears while Emma groaned a little and responded with a distraught, “Yessss.” We would always laugh about it but would often refer to her listening ears when she chose to ignore what we had told her.
Several months ago, I felt God asking me if I have my listening ears on. I found myself praying about one issue in particular for months. I was torn about a choice I needed to make. I kept praying that God would answer and reveal himself to me. He already had; I just was not listening. He was speaking but I was not hearing.
Truth be told I was hearing, I just did not like the answer. In my clouded judgment of the situation I convinced myself that I could keep wrestling in prayer and in the meantime keep living in sin as I was “waiting” to hear from God. We can ignore the Holy Spirit for only so long before something changes. I knew God would get my attention. I could wait for his discipline or I could change on my own accord. I was at a crossroads: listen, hear and obey God or suffer potentially devastating consequences.
Hebrews 12:6 tells us that “the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as a child.” We are also told in 2 Peter 3:9 that, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
But the consequences of sin often bring about punishment and pain. I was on the fast track to both if I did not listen to the truth.
Which area in your life do you need to hear from God? I encourage you right now to stop and listen…and hear. You may truly be in a waiting period. Or like me you may know exactly what God is calling you to do. Today is the day to put on your listening ears and hear what God is speaking to you.
Do you have your listening ears on?
Don’t just listen. Hear.