A God Who is Available and Anxious to Speak?
I used to work as a news reporter and one thing that had to be learned on the job was good listening skills. Whether it was a businessman, politician or factory worker, my job was to listen intently to every word they were saying. I would then go back to the office to replay the tape so I could re-listen to what was said to make sure I got it right in quoting them in the report. James tells us that, like my news reporting days, we need to be “quick to listen” or “swift to hear” as another translation puts it.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” (James 1:19)
James is not speaking of listening in the context of our human friendships and relationships, though this is important, but he is referring to our listening to God. If I’m honest, rather than living my life according to the quick-quick-slow sequence, I am often in the slow-quick-quick category: slow to listen, and quick to speak and become angry.
Why is it so difficult to listen to God?
Sometimes, I think it is simply that we forget not only how much God is able to speak to us, but how much he wants to. John Howell, in his book He Touched Me, writes of a God who is anxious to speak to His Children:
Of course I feel sure that God can and does teach us in these ways. I think of the whole Bible as simply a written record of such religious experience, of God invading human history and human lives, of God speaking to men. I also believe this God is available and anxious to speak to you and me. Yes, just as anxious as he was to speak to Isaac, Abraham and Jacob, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.
I don’t know about you, but rarely do I think of God as anxiously wanting to speaking to me. I think of when I’ve been apart from my husband all day, and when he gets home, I can’t wait to speak to him about what has happened in my day and hear about his day. Thinking of this real-life scenario helps me to grasp what Powell is getting at: God is anxious, eager, excited to speak with us!
Sometimes it’s easier for me to believe that God can speak to other people, but when it comes to believing God wants to speak to me, I find myself doubting. How about you? Do you see God as a God who is available and anxious to speak to his people? To You? Chew on that question and share any reflections or responses you may have.
A challenge I pose for today is this: Try whispering little prayers to God throughout the day expressing your faith in his ability and desire to speak to you, “God, I believe you are available and anxious to speak to me. Teach me how to be quick to listen and swift to hear…amen.”
Stay tuned for how to tune into God’s voice, as we continue on the journey of re-learning the art of listening to God.