Can you hear me now?

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“Does that make sense?”  I asked a student after explaining a concept for the third time.

“What?” the student blinked, eyes focusing back on the present.

Not listening.  Again.  My explanation falling on unhearing ears.

I sighed and offered to repeat my explanation but the student wouldn’t wait for it, stating instead that, “You didn’t help me anyway.”

I’m not writing this to be overly-critical of my students.  I’m not writing this to be overly-critical of kids in general.  I’m writing this because I am just as guilty and, more than likely, so are you.

I don’t know how many times I’ve begged God for guidance in a situation and then proceeded to fill my time with “noise,” only to turn around and blame God for not answering my prayer!

What if I just wasn’t listening?

What if I was paying so little attention to Him that I couldn’t hear his answer?

Sound familiar?

Just this last week in devotion time at LWA I taught the beginning of the story of Samuel.  This has always been one of my favorite Bible stories but in case you’re not as familiar with it, I’ll recount it briefly here:

Samuel was dedicated to the temple at a young age to serve under Eli, a Priest and Judge of Israel.  One night, when he was still a child, Samuel heard a voice calling out his name as he lay in his bed in the darkness.  Naturally, the boy thought it was Eli, his master, calling to him.  So, he ran to answer the priest’s call only to find that Eli had not, in fact, called.  Eli, then, sent the boy back to bed.  This same pattern repeated itself twice more before Eli finally realized what was happening and instructed Samuel to respond to the voice (which he finally recognized as the voice of the Lord) with the words, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:9b).   Only then did God give His message to Samuel.

Only then, when Samuel started to listen, did God give His message to Samuel.

How many times have I – have we – missed out on messages and direction from God because we failed to listen?

How many times have we been so caught up in our problems that we tuned out the only way to truly solve them?

How many times have we given up on hearing an answer to a prayer when, perhaps, the bad connection was on our end?

How many times?

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