Hearing, Encouraging, Listening

Years ago, I was sitting in front of a television trying to find an escape from the cares of the day. It had been an extremely difficult forty-eight hours serving as a Navy chaplain in a large hospital. I was trying to “get away” from the stressors and strains of being with sick and dying Marines as the “Chaplain on Duty.” Suddenly, my young son burst into my attempt to escape reality, shouting, “Dad! Let’s play.” 

Whatever he said did not register. So, he said it again and again, and then asked, “Dad, did you hear me?” 

“Of course, Son, I was listening carefully,” was my reply. 

Grabbing my face with his two little hands and looking into my eyes, he said, “Dad, I didn’t ask if you were listening. I asked if you heard me.” Then and there, I was taught the difference between listening and hearing. 

The Psalmist recognized this difference, too. “You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them as You listen to their cry.” 

What a comforting thought! His ear is always open to the cries of His children and He waits attentively to hear their voices in times of need. What a beautiful picture of a loving Father. There is nothing we need to do to get His attention. Nor is there a magical formula to use when we pray. All we have to do is to cry out to Him. 

We cry and He hears. His ear is always open for our particular voice. His eyes are always on us no matter where we may be. And His heart is always sensitive to our personal needs. When we cry, He hears, He listens, He understands, and He will respond to and meet our individual needs. 

Prayer:  Lord, You are above us but not beyond us. You listen as well as hear us when we cry and respond to us when the time is right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture For Today: You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them as You listen to their cry.” Psalm 10:17 

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