Remove the earplugs and hear your surroundings
Published 5:55 pm Friday, July 24, 2015
While traveling to a business meeting last week, Gale and I exited the interstate to stay overnight in a motel. We did not have reservations and the first place we tried had no vacancy, so we continued our search. The next place did not have exactly what we wanted, but since I have experienced the predicament of not being able to find a place for the night and having to keep driving, I knew it was best to take what we could find and make the best of it.
While preparing to check in, the desk clerk gave Gale something that was most strange to me and that I have never been given at a motel before: two sets of earplugs. After we got settled into our room I understood the reason for such unusual equipment–we were on the back section of the facility which is uncomfortably near a train track. But not just any train track, a very busy one! Nevertheless, we remained in the room and had a reasonably good night of rest. In fact, I tuned out the noise without the use of the earplugs.
Gale probably needed them to block out the sound of my snoring, but if she used hers I did not know it.
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There are times when eliminating unwanted noise might be beneficial, but most of the time it is in our best interest to be able to hear what is going on around us. Otherwise we might miss urgent warnings or other important information.
As Christ addressed the churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3, He included this reminder: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Just as our physical hearing can be blocked—intentionally or unintentionally—our ability to hear spiritually can be muted so that we miss out on what God wants to speak to our hearts. It takes a willing and submissive heart to hear and respond to His voice.
In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel the account is given of God speaking to Samuel when he was a young lad. At first Samuel did not recognize that it was God attempting to get his attention, but when he realized what was happening he willingly responded to the voice of God: “The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening”” (3:10, New International Version). Over time, as Samuel submitted to the call of God, he became a great prophet of God and an effective influence upon God’s people.
It is not likely that God will speak to each of us in the same fashion that He spoke to Samuel, but He has a variety of ways to get across to us if we will but pay attention and listen. He has given us His Word—the Bible—for the purpose of speaking to us today. He also communicates through circumstances and through the work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts. We can be assured that God can speak to us by any means that He chooses. The means is His choice, listening is ours.
Earplugs are alright to block out the sounds of a nearby train or a snoring husband, but our spiritual ears should continually be open to the voice of God. He wants us to have the same response as did young Samuel centuries ago: “Speak, for your servant is listening.”