Best of 2011: What Are You Hearing?
On my blog's previous home, I had the grand title of "La-la-la! I Can't Hear You" for this last 'best' post of 2011, but that was most definitely not SEO-friendly. Though it did get the point across. Either which way, the reminder to *really* listen to what is being said is a good thing to remember as we head into a new year. *~*~*~
Originally posted April 4/11
I know a man who once was told God wanted to heal him of his hurts. “The Holy Spirit,” said the prophet visiting our church that day, “says you are a candidate for healing.” And I remember being very excited for that man when I heard those words spoken to him. But I later learned that is not what that man heard. What he heard was this:
“You are bad.” As in ‘stuff is wrong with you and it needs to be fixed, you bad person, you’.
One person heard words of hope and help. The other heard words of guilt and condemnation.
Now before anyone (myself included) is tempted to run off and say how silly that is and possibly sad and how they would never do anything like that, I would caution you (and me) to plant the feet and zip the lips. Then take an honest inventory of any time when you know the words you heard and the words that were actually said or truly implied by those words did not match up.
I was struggling with such words recently. I heard good, honest words about how it’s better to read the Bible than fictional novels not as ‘God’s Word is life and health and good for you, so read it often!’ but as ‘you wanting to write fiction is stupid and a waste of time.’
Then, oh-so-self-centeredly, I heard words meant to encourage another as a discouragement to me. “You’re not really smart,” I heard, “you only think you are, you show-off.” (A bit of time and a chat with my husband helped me see I was really just being silly with that one. And oh yeah – it’s not all about me, either. Whew!)
The thing is it’s easy to say something to a room full of people and have each one hear something different. As I’m learning and seeing, our respective circumstances, our experiences, our baggage, colours how we see and hear things. It’s like the kid who had an ‘okay’ or a terrible or absolutely no relationship with his or her dad trying to understand exactly what God looks like as a good Father. He or she may keep trying to approach God as the Father whose love they have to earn, not as the Father who stands, watching and waiting day after day for His wayward child to return home so He can hug him and kiss him and forgive him before having an amazing party (Luke 15:11-32).
We’re all thinking different things in our hearts (Proverbs 23:7, NKJ). That we’re winners who are capable of much . . . or that we’re losers who will never amount to much. Or maybe we think about how we’re loved by an amazing God . . . or we think we’ve disappointed Him too many times. It could be we’re thinking our dreams are good and right and doable . . . or that they’re selfish and wrong and not worth much of anything.
And people can say all the best things, the most encouraging and right and true things, but we’re not hearing them. Not really. There’s too much static coming over the line. But (thankfully, mercifully) God is patient, His Word is sure and true and He does not lie. I keep coming back to Jeremiah 29:11-15a, and with each reading it is etched deeper into my heart and gains more volume over the static of the noise that would try to convince me otherwise:
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me. Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” GOD’s Decree. I’ll turn things around for you.
~ The Message (emphasis added)
Amen and amen.