It's amazing how much noise 30 kids, ages 4-12
can make. Especially in a small, block-construction room. As I stared at
the person standing three feet away from me, I knew he was speaking
because I could see his lips moving, but I couldn't hear a word he was
saying. And as my lip-reading skills aren't yet well developed, I was at
a total loss.
I quickly glanced around the room. They call it "Wacky Wednesday", and it's a wonderful program for elementary school-aged children in our region. Our church has been sponsoring this program for the past few years, and is pleased that not only do the children of church go-ers come, but also children from the community. The kids love it, the parents love it, it's a win-win situation. All except for the noise level, that is . . .
I directed my attention back to the person trying to speak to me, but all I could do was shake my head. I'm not deaf and he's not mute. Why couldn't I figure out what he was saying?
It all reminded me of my walk with God. The Bible teaches that when I accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour, it became as if I were seated right next to Him in the Heavenly realm: "… made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus …" (Ephesians 2:5,6)
So since I am seated with Christ, why is it that so often I can't hear His voice? Why can't I always clearly know what His will is for my life? Why don't I always see where He is at work? Why doesn't He always answer my prayers?
As I glanced around that noisy room again, I began to hear individual sounds: The DVD for one, blaring music while some of the kids danced and sang. Then there was the noise of the bouncing balls and the shrieks of laughter in the corner where the kids were playing. And of course there was also the low-drone of 30+ excited voices, all talking at once. I shook my head and shouted out, "I can't hear you over all the noise in here!"
His eye brows scrunched and I could see he was concentrating on my face, but nothing was registering. I tried again, louder this time: "I can't hear!"
But I had to smile, because while I was complaining about not being able to hear him, he couldn't hear me either!
It is no different with communication with God. Sometimes there is so much "noise" in our lives that He simply can't hear us.
But wait a minute. We're talking about the Almighty God, here. What could possibly plug up His ears so that He can't hear?
Isaiah tells us that sin can: "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." (Isa 59:1-2 NIV).
In other words, sometimes we plug God's ears with our sins. Often we come to Him, expecting Him to hear us and answer our prayers, but we aren't willing to let go of the things that are keeping us apart, that are keeping Him from being able to hear us!
And just what are those "things"?
Pretty much any sin will do, but the book of Ezekiel offers further insight: "Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?" (Eze 14:3 NIV)
Is there something that you put in a higher place than God? Do your priorities always reflect a "God first" attitude? Is there something you just aren't willing to let go of? If so, then it is causing interference, and God simply can't hear you. If it seems God isn't answering your prayers, search your hearts for pet sins and for "other gods".
But what if that sincere heart search comes up empty? What if there aren't any pet sins or "other gods" in your life, and you know God hears you? Why, then, can't you hear His voice?
The reason we often can't hear Him is that there is so much interference in our lives. The interference is sometimes caused by worry and sometimes by stress. Sometimes it is caused by our personal desires or the fact that we are focussing on our problems instead of on Jesus. But whatever the cause, He hears us and He answers us, but something keeps us from understanding His voice.
So what is the solution?
We have to do what I did at that Wacky Wednesday: I moved closer to the person I was speaking to. I turned my ear towards his mouth, I cupped my hand around my ear, and I put my full concentration into listening.
I understood what he was trying to tell me!
Friends, when you can't hear God's voice, you need to move closer to Him. You need to focus your attention on Him and Him alone. You need to focus your faith on Him, forgetting the problems all around you, ever believing that He will come through with an answer. You need to push aside your personal desires and be willing to let Him lead in your life. Only then will His voice begin to resound, crystal clear.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb. 12:2)
Try it, friends! It really DOES work!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .