Thank You for Listening
My wife, Jen, is such a gifted listener. She has taught me to hear more than just the content of what is being said. Now, I can hear not only the spoken words, but also understand the deeper things of the heart being expressed. This took some work, but it is well worth it! The beauty of truly listening to one another is that it grows our intimacy. When we truly hear what the other is thinking and feeling, we are more connected.
Jen has some other listening gifts too. For example, in crowded restaurants, she has the ability to simultaneously listen to conversations at the tables around us! Sometimes her eyes will widen, and she’ll say, ‘Did you hear what she just said?’ It was all I could do with my male brain to keep listening to our one conversation… I’m not that gifted. On the other side of this equation, as a teacher and mom of four, she has an amazing ability to tune us out. There have been plenty of times where I’ll be chatting with the kids, maybe even sitting right next to Jen, and then will shift and ask her a question or tell her something, only to hear… nothing. I’ll say, ‘Hon? Did you hear what I said?’ And she’ll look up from whatever she is doing and genuinely say, ‘What? I didn’t hear you.’ Amazing. I don’t know how she does it!
Do you ever feel like saying, ‘God, did you hear what I said?’
Sometimes we feel like God hasn’t heard us. Maybe he’s reading and deep in thought. Or maybe he’s playing Bubble Pop on the newest iPhone. Or maybe (and more likely), He’s really busy keeping track of critical world events.
When we feel like someone is not listening to us, it’s easy to feel like they don’t understand us. We may even make the jump to questioning whether they even care.
In John 11, Jesus is standing at his friend’s grave. Lazarus had gotten sick and now had been dead for four days. Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, but he begins with a prayer. He opens with the statement, “Father, I thank you that you heard me.” Notice, this is not the first time the Savior of the world has spoken to His Father about Lazarus. He speaks in the past tense. The Father had already heard Jesus, even though Lazarus was still lying in the tomb. Jesus continued, “I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so that they may believe you sent me” (John 11:41b-42, CSB). We can rest assured, based on what Jesus affirms, that the Father always hears his prayer. And because we are in Christ, and Christ is in us, we can be assured that the Father always hears our prayers.
This was not the first time listening was mentioned in this chapter. In the first six verses of the chapter, we learn that Lazarus, a personal and close friend of Jesus, was sick. In fact, he was sick enough for his sisters, Mary and Martha, to send a messenger on a two-day journey in order to inform Jesus. And though we are told Jesus loved Lazarus and heard the message, he stayed where he was two more days.
Jesus, did you hear me? Lazarus is sick! Let’s not make the mistake of evaluating whether God heard or cares based upon whether we see Him acting in our time frame, or not.
Thank you, Father God that you always hear me. Amazing.