One of my favorite quotes about communication comes from a book by Norm Wright and goes something like this...
"I know you think you heard what I said, but I don't think you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Being a family of eight we have more than our fair share of miscommunication. No matter how hard we try it seems to happen daily. Most of the time it's because we are much more concerned with being heard than being ready to listen. If we're honest we'll admit that this is a common human ailment. It's no surprise that our Creator gave us only one mouth but two ears!
One of the most remarkable aspects of Christianity is that God created us for a relationship with Him. I wish I heard God more often, more clearly than I do. I'm not referring to any audible voice from above. While I suppose God can operate that way if He chooses, that particular form of interaction is outside my realm of experience. It typically comes in the form of a notion in my thoughts or a subtle nudge in a certain direction. But I wish it happened more often. (Some times He even chooses to speak to me through my wife! But that's a topic for another day).
God speaking to Samuel in the middle of the night is one of the more popular Biblical stories. (1 Samuel 3:1-21) Samuel hears his name called and goes to Eli his mentor. Eli, not having called for Samuel, sends him back to bed. This happens three times before Eli finally realizes that it is God speaking. So Eli tells Samuel ...
“Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, ‘Speak, God. I'm your servant, ready to listen.’ " ~ 1 Samuel 3:9
What is it that makes Samuel such fertile ground for hearing God? Could it be that he didn't have any personal agenda? Could it be that he was fully surrendered to God's Lordship and prepared to serve? Could it be that he was ready to listen?
Scripture is very clear that the Holy Spirit dwells in us as Counselor and Guide to draw our attention to Jesus. Do you suppose the Spirit would be willing to help us become ready to listen if we asked Him? I'm betting He would!
Are we ready to listen?