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“Say what?” “Can you hear me now?” These familiar jingles have been used in popular commercials to get our attention. The catch phrases invite us to listen in. Hearing is what we do in response to an audible voice, startling noise or soothing music. According to Google, ‘to hear means to perceive with the ear the sound made by someone or something. However, listen means, ‘to give one’s attention to a sound, an act of listening to something.’ Hearing happens when we catch a snippet of someone’s conversation; we are drawn in with interest and choose to engage ourselves in processing the content and information. Hearing happens by happenstance, listening intently is a choice.

Last week I was disappointed by a dear friend who has recently relapsed into her addictions. In processing the situation, I’ve asked myself, “What more could I have done?” I mentioned this concern to another of our mutual friends who said, “She has all the tools she needs. She knows what to do.” Wow. My cloud of guilt and shame lifted as I was comforted with the truth – I did everything I could. Now it was up to her, our backslidden friend had to want to get back up again. God asked me to release to Him the responsibility for results, but to continue to be faithful in prayer and let Him work it out. Once again, I’ve died to myself this week. I must choose to decrease so He can bring abundant increase. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I’ve been encouraged by the people of God and recalibrated by the word of God. And I’ve chosen to lean in. I am listening closely as God communicates to me through the circumstances, my friends and the Holy Spirit. I love this scripture from Romans 8:26-27, let us agree together as we speak aloud these words as a prayer. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saint in accordance with God’s will.”

I’ve made a choice to prepare myself. I want to be a different person on Resurrection Sunday. I’ve chosen to make this time of lent a time to listen to God. Interestingly enough, God wants us to listen to him speaking through the people he has placed in our lives. Can you hear Him now?


  • Matthew says:

    Your reflection on the distinction between hearing and listening is profound and timely. Indeed, in a world filled with noise and distractions, the act of truly listening requires intentionality and attention.

    The personal anecdote you shared about your friend’s relapse into addiction and your subsequent journey of processing and surrendering the situation to God is deeply relatable. It’s a powerful reminder that while we may offer support and guidance to those in need, ultimately, their choices and actions are beyond our control. Surrendering the outcome to God’s sovereignty, while remaining faithful in prayer, is a testament to your trust in His plan and His power to bring about transformation.

    Your willingness to lean in and listen closely to God’s voice amidst life’s challenges is inspiring. It’s a reminder that God speaks to us not only through His Word and the Holy Spirit but also through the people He places in our lives. Your commitment to using this time of Lent to deepen your listening to God’s voice is commendable and serves as a call to action for others to do the same.

    The prayer from Romans 8:26-27 is a beautiful reminder of the Holy Spirit’s role in interceding for us and guiding us in alignment with God’s will. By actively engaging in prayer and listening, we open ourselves to the transformative work of God in our lives.

    Thank you for sharing your journey of faith and listening. It’s a reminder to all of us to tune our ears to God’s voice amidst the noise of life and to respond with obedience and trust.

  • Kim Rider says:

    Matthew – thank you for your comment and reassuring reminder that a big part of our journey is about faith and listening. Blessings!

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