The Lord is always trying to speak to us and get our attention. He wants to hold a dialog with us throughout the day. That’s essentially what prayer is – a dialog with the Lord.
Prayer is not just bombarding God with requests and petitions. “God do this, or do that, or do the other thing.” It’s not just going to Him with our problems and complaints. We need to learn to listen.
God speaks to us in many different ways. But we miss it so often.
Job 33:14 “God speaks first in one way, and then in another, but no one notices.”
God wants to share many wonderful things with us. But we have to pray for the grace to be able to listen and pay attention.
God often speaks in parables. A parable is a story that teaches a lesson. One thing Father Thomas taught me is that these divine lessons that God wants to teach us are often wrapped up in very normal events that happen in day-to-day life. Let me give you an example.
The other day I had a build-up of wax in one of my ears. I had been using ear drops to try to get it out. One morning it shifted and totally blocked my ear. I couldn’t hear a thing in that ear, and I couldn’t get the wax out. That whole morning I couldn’t hear very well. I had to turn my clear ear to hear what people were saying, and even then it was very muffled and hard to understand. I was getting very frustrated and upset and was begging God to clear the wax out of my ear. Nothing was happening. I figured I had to go to an ear doctor to get it removed.
My prayer was full of complaining. “God, this is easy for you. You can clear up my ear in an instant. Why aren’t you doing it?” It was a Wednesday and I had a meeting and then the prayer meeting to go to, and I wondered how I would be able to hear what people were saying to me.
I thought, “Okay, I better stop and pray calmly. I just gave a teaching on rejoicing and giving thanks. I haven’t done that in this trial, so I’d better do that now.”
I did – I thanked God for my blocked ear, I counted the trial joy – not being able to hear people, hearing an echo in my head whenever I spoke, feeling unbalanced. I rejoiced in my good hearing that He has blessed me with. I had a deeper appreciation for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
I started getting happier and more peaceful. But the ear was still blocked. It finally dawned on me — this was a parable! God was allowing this to happen to teach me something.
That’s when the Lord said to me, “Finally you get it. That’s right.”
“I’m sorry I’m so slow, Lord. So what are you trying to teach me.”
“Ellen, you are not listening. You are trying to solve your problems by yourself and figure things out without My help. You give me a lot of instructions but You are not listening to me. I needed to get your attention, and this is what I sent.”
It was a great parable – I really got the message. I was struck with partial deafness in my physical ears so that I could realize that I was deaf in my spiritual ears as well.
“I’m so sorry, Lord. I’m sorry I haven’t been listening to you. Open my ears now so that I can hear your voice. Thank you for this reminder, to realize my fault and to amend my ways.”
I was so happy after that. I went about my business, doing what I needed to do, rejoicing and praising the Lord.
All of a sudden, the wax dislodged and came out. Just like that!
I had gotten the meaning of the parable. I understood what God was saying to me. I resolved to do better at listening to Him. The trial had served its purpose so God let my ear be cleared, just like that.
God Wants to Communicate with Us
God is alive. He is active. He is vitally interested in the smallest details of our lives.
He wants to communicate with us, be in a dialog with us each and every day.
He is not a God way out there – He is here with us. Emmanuel, God with us, speaking to us.
But are we listening?