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Selective hearing

My pup used her ears selectively. She didn’t enjoy riding in the car, so whenever I said the word ride, or drive, she either looked the other way or sat still while ignoring me. Conversely, when I quietly opened the wrapping of her favorite treat, she appeared in seconds from fifty feet away. Sometimes we humans select what we want to hear, too. Some wives, for instance, say their husbands rarely ignore the call to dinner, but pretend deafness when asked to clean the garage.

In my advancing years, I truly am experiencing some hearing loss. I miss what others are saying when in a crowd of people. I need the volume of my DVD player turned up more than I used to. Yet, sometimes the music in church is so loud for my ears, I leave the room. Go figure. Selective hearing? Perhaps more a case of irregular hearing.

Sometimes I purposely close my ears to God. If I’m spending too much time on Facebook or reading yet another book and know I should be praying for a certain situation, I have closed my ears to His silent nudging. If I’m stuffing my mouth with sugar-laden snacks, knowing they can harm my body, I’m not listening to God’s voice but my own. If I’m teaching a Bible study, I seem to hear His voice clearly—until I finish the study. Then I sometimes return to the same old habit of listening to other voices.

Many voices clamor to be heard. One is the voice of reason. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if we’re told we have stage 4 cancer, we’ll die? Yet as important as reason is, faith trumps it—or triumphs over it—many times. We hear of miraculous healings everywhere.

Another voice often heard is that of discouragement. The Bible is filled with examples of God’s people ready to cave in to failure. His Word, rather, gives us reasons not to fear or lose hope. When Joshua took over Moses’ role as leader of over a million people, many who complained, God spoke life-giving words to him. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Can we find any better words to listen to?

Lord, keep our ears attuned to Your voice so we won’t be tempted to select the unreliable or unproductive voices of other people or things. Help us remember that Your voice is powerful, meant for our good and our growth, and for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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