Learning To Listen

The older my hearing gets…

ListenThe more important it is to learn to listen. Closely. Intently.

Of course, hearing issues make me long for a quiet room, so that your voice or message is clearly received.

Often, however, the opposite is the experience. Lots of noise producers drown out your sound and I am left trying to read your lips to fully comprehend. Many want to continue to talk about something important even when it is obvious I cannot comprehend.

What happens when the voice that is speaking to you comes from within. You know, that still small voice that speaks into your moment. We often look for answers from the boomers around us, you know those with the loudest and clearest voice. We desire someone to speak into our lives at an appropriate moment, and think the voice that gets our attention must be the correct voice.

I believe all good leaders learn to twist from the voice that grabs the attention of the masses, and learn to listen to that particular sound that provides avenues never considered. They listen even when the prior step they made was the correct step. Not wanting to lose momentum or direction, they continually seek the sound that will lead forward.

Over the past few months I have listened to some disgruntled individuals. Some had negative things to say, while others struggled with being positive. Yet, in the midst of all the sounds, I have to tippy toe around personalities and attempt to point in the right direction. Some hear. Some do not. Some come. Some go.

In the midst of it all I strive to stay positive. But it’s hard when it feels like the ground is trembling under your feet, and the storms are blowing hard enough to topple.

How do you stay positive? I listen for that “better” voice to speak into my moment. Prayer. Devotion. Scripture. Silence. Meditate. In the midst of those better moments of life, I hear this still, and small, voice speaking peace. Comfort. Consolation. Direction. Action.

Then, it is left up to me to follow these words of instruction.

Last week, I prayed after one of my morning devotions and asked for someone to speak into my life that day. I needed a word. A comfort. Something positive. Flagging someone for a birthday wish (I have never met or talked with this person), he responded with a particular word that was meant for me… Not you. Not my family. But me.

I accepted it and a great peace swept into my spirit and for the first time in months I felt peace like I had not felt for some time. God is in control. Not me. All I am required to do is to follow His leading and direction. It’s given. And received. Now is the time to get busy and do!

Elijah had just celebrated a terrific win over the prophets of Baal and then was intimidated by Queen Jezebel… So much so that he fled from his greatest win that showed the power of God miraculously. Read about it… 1 Kings 18. When threatened by the Queen, he fled for his life!

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:1-4 NKJV)

Why are we easily defeated so quickly in that moment following a powerful victory? When things have been going well, why do we flee at the first moment of negative? We are not talking about a coward here. No. Elijah is a PROPHET of God and often speaks positive and negatives to whoever God commands. But he allows the threat from Queen Jezebel to intimidate him!

And here it is again, we would never consciously call a child of ours today by the name Jezebel! Just like Judas. Ichabod, Delilah… 

Yet, God directs Elijah even in his weakest moment and gives him another miracle. Food and drink to last for a 40 day journey into Horeb. And there he lodges in a cave. Until that voice speaks to him. (1 Kings 19:9-14)

Elijah. What are you doing here?

Elijah pours out his heart and gushes his anguish to God.

“I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

It has been horrible, Lord… Everything is falling apart. Your covenant is being abandoned. No longer do your people use your altars. They tear down those sacred places and have become vicious. They threaten. There is no one but me and they even come after me!

God tells him to stand on the mountain he’s hiding in. Get out of the cave. Step out. Let me show you something.

And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

God sends the greatness of creation before him. Wind powerful enough to break the rocks. An earthquake to shake the very foundation. Fire…. But in all of this, God was not found. You see, God is not to be looked for in the mighty acts that happen around us. No. He speaks directly to us. A Still Small Voice.

A calm, small, expression. In that still small voice we get the comfort and peace we need to get up, get out, and go on.

That’s what I found this past week. Just what I needed. And not from a source expected. Get up. Get out. Go on!