Life’s Lessons

Develop your listening skills

Most of us are probably not very good listeners. Over and over again, I’ve read how most of us don’t truly listen to what another is saying. We just get the general gist of the message and then begin formulating our answer – often basing our answer on a similar experience of our own which, of course, makes us experts.

Listening is an acquired skill, I think, and one not easily learned.

All that being true, then isn’t it even more difficult to listen to God? After all, that person we have difficulty truly listening to is right in front of us but, looking around, I don’t really see God. Therefore, if He is not physically present, He must not be talking to me. Right?

No, not right! But, nonetheless, that’s the way we seem to deal with His speaking to us.

Case in point: The other evening, I checked to see what was on TV and found my choices pretty limited. The evening game shows I normally watch had been replaced with “Paid Programming.” Uh-oh! More infomercials! I didn’t anticipate that. But the news finished, and I left the TV on just to see what they were going to be selling.

Instead of the usual infomercial purporting their product to be the very best on the market, this program was advertising how much good this particular organization was doing in the world.

I hadn’t planned to watch for even five minutes but left it on for a few minutes, and I was soon absorbed. I knew of the organization, and knew their work to be good, had even donated to them previously, but still had not planned to watch. Yet, as they showed before and after photos of child after child, I was hooked.

In areas of the world where prenatal care is not readily available, birth defects are still frequent. Such an event in our country is surgically corrected as soon as the infant is old enough for surgery, but where that is not an option the child is doomed to a life that is less than a life.

This organization, Operation Smile, surgically deals with cleft lip and palette deformities. Left uncorrected, these deformities preclude the child’s ability not only to smile but also his ability to take nourishment to live a healthy life. He is shunned by other children and even, in many cases, by family.

Yet, these problems of appearance and normal physical development can be corrected with a 45-minute, inexpensive surgery. The plea that night was for people to donate the cost of surgery.

As I watched, I thought I could probably send $20. Then, I thought, “No, maybe I could send half the cost of a surgery.” God was already speaking to me because the children being pictured were from Nicaragua, the very country where I’ve served on 14 mission trips. God was really tipping the balance in His own favor, wasn’t he?

Now, I knew He was speaking to me and His message became quite clear. “You know that savings account you designate for missions? Well, you and Arron decided not to do a foreign trip this year. Use that and give two surgeries!” It all made sense when I listened to God. (By the way, that was not an audible voice but very distinctly God speaking.)

I’m not asking for money for this or any other project. I’m simply suggesting I’m probably not the only poor listener out there. What is God asking you to do? Something you really don’t want to do? What will it take to get you to listen and respond?

Obedience to Him always brings a plethora of blessings. Keep listening and receive His blessings.

Develop your listening skills