Thought I'd knock back and chill with a few tunes on my IPOD the other day. Okay, I'm well aware I'm within eyesight of fifty and here I am sounding like I'm retreating (almost said 'digressing') back into my youth. Let me back up. I made the conscious decision a few days ago to recline and enjoy some music as it was piped through equi-distanced conduits of technology and disgorged into my ear cavities. Oh, the beauteous strains of melody reverberating against the walls of my ear canals!
Suddenly, I jerked up with a start (hard to do when you're in a wheelchair). So help me, I'd listened to that song for years and I never heard that instrument before! It was a tinkling sound of some sort and I took the ear plugs out to see if it had come from somewhere around me. Nope. I zipped the song back about twenty seconds and listened again. Closely. There it was again. That tinkling, cow bell-y kind of sound. It dawned on me that I'd been listening to this particular selection through the seventies, eighties, nineties and oh-tees, with eight-tracks, cassettes, transistor radios ('scuse me, what?!), and even CDs and I had never known that instrument came in the song at that point.
What was the difference? Simply this: my IPOD ear buds had given out so I invested in a much more frilly pair (did you know you can spend upwards of fifty dollars on those ear thingys? I didn't…and it's a good thing because my wife reads these). The moment I put them in my ear, I could tell a ginormic difference. The sound was spilling out with such clarity, liveliness and strength! And depth. Boy howdy, they made me feel like I was sitting in the dress circle of an orchestral concert.
I've reflected on that experience and an idea has begun to take shape having to do with hearing God.
I know God speaks today as I have learned to listen for and hear His voice. I opine that I do not hear it more readily or clearly but that can be easily explained by a failure to do His bidding or when I seek my own way. He will not talk to people who are too busy talking themselves, or, worse, walking out of ear-shot of Him! No, the ones who hear His still, small voice are those who pay the extra wad of cash (alert: metaphor) for a pair of ear buds that can tune into the still, small stuff—His hidden strains and quiet refrains and the delicate tinklings of a higher frequency.
Jesus said, "My teaching is not Mine but His who sent Me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself." (John 7:16,17)
A friend of mine says of this passage: "those who hear the Lord are the ones willing to put the 'amen' in front of their prayers as well as at the end." In other words, when we surrender our need to know and give up our 'right' to choose whether what He says is for us or not, then the Lord will speak with great clarity and frequency.
Jesus also said, "My sheep hear and distinguish My Voice." (John 10:27) How does a Shepherd speak to his lambs? "This is the way" or "Follow Me!" and He even calls them by their pet names. When Saul was converted and blinded, God spoke to Ananias and gave him specific instructions as to where to find him, even giving him the address (see Acts 9:11)! You just have to have cleaned-out ears.
Charles Spurgeon said, "Note well that we must hear Jesus speak if we expect Him to hear us speak. If we have no ear for Christ, He will have no ear for us. In proportion as we hear, we shall be heard.
"Moreover, what is heard must remain, must live in us, and must abide in our character as a force and a power. We must receive the truths which Jesus taught, the precepts which He issued, and the movements of His Spirit within us; or we shall have no power at the Mercy Seat." (Spurgeon, The Cheque-Book of the Bank of Faith)
Did you know that God sings? Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that He "rejoices over us with singing." Imagine what that sounds like? To paraphrase, "He that hath ears to hear" let him listen through the costly means of obedience and sacrifice. With a duddy pair of earphones ('nother metaphor), you'll miss some of the most beautiful music God has to offer you.
Go ahead, spend the extra. You'll NEVER regret it.