Ears to Hear

On a Mother’s Day past, Hubby and I were sitting at our favorite breakfast place. We had just come from church and we were alone. Our teenage daughters were on their way to meet us. But for a few minutes, it was just the two of us.

“So now you know what chesed means,” he says to me, referring to the sermon. It was a word repeated several times in a movie we had just seen.

“Well, actually… I wasn’t listening,” I said, somewhat surprised by my own confession. “I kind of tuned it out, because I knew what the final message would be.” It was the story of Ruth and Naomi, one that was familiar to me.

“It means ‘God’s loving-kindness.’ And you’re just used to the pastor,” he adds, trying to account for my poor listening skills.

Photo by Colin Mutchler
Photo by Colin Mutchler

Our food arrives, he says grace and blesses me with his words—a Mother’s Day sort of blessing, you might say. The bustling servers and other patrons fade into the background. For a few minutes it’s like we’re the only ones there. There’s a fresh connection, as if a door has just opened and we’re both walking through it for the first time. It’s a lovely moment and I savor it, an unexpected gift. Then the girls arrive with flowers and my favorite candy. The “moment” slips away, but I can sense something has shifted in my heart.

“Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” Psalm 95:7, NAS

Throughout the week, I kept coming back to our conversation, kept remembering how I had admitted to tuning out God. I was beginning to realize that somewhere along the way my heart had become hard, crusted over with a thin layer of pride and an I-already-know-all-that attitude. How long had it been that way, I wondered? And how did it get that way? It seemed I was missing a certain level of intimacy with my heavenly Father. You might say I’d been ignoring His signals, those special moments when He was trying to connect with me. My heart was closed up tight (along with my ears). I confessed all of this and asked Him to work on my heart.

“My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’
And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’”
Psalm 27:8, NLT

Sunday came around again, and I was determined to listen to every word of the sermon, take notes even. Well, the message knocked me off my feet, challenged me to look at what kind of Christian I was. I felt like the words were directed straight at me, as if everything I had been thinking about that week was being addressed in the sermon.

As I was walking out of the sanctuary, someone shouted, “Mrs. Wolf!”

“Yes?” I turned around trying to figure out who was calling me. It was someone with whom I had worked in Sunday school years ago. Frankly, I was surprised she even knew my name.

She asked me which chair I was on (the chair had to do with the sermon). “First chair,” I answered. “Well, I really want to be there.”

“Oh good,” she responded sweetly. “I just wanted to be sure you were listening.”

“Listen, and I will tell you where to get food that is good for the soul!
Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake.” Isaiah 55:2-3, NLT

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