|I'm Not Listening!|
Don't you just love the cell phone commercial with the guy talking on his cell phone while desperately trying to find a location where he can be heard on the other end of the phone? We all laugh at that because we've all had that frustrating experience. It's very irritating to be speaking to someone and not be heard, isn't it?
Recently, while talking with a very dear friend, I had the uncomfortable experience of wondering if he was listening – was he blocking out what friends had tried to tell him about his health? Was he hearing the voice of the Lord speaking correction into his life, for his own good?
This friend is a very sick man. He has a long list of serious ailments and disabilities that are limiting his life and, potentially, risking his life in dangerous ways. I have prayed for him, that the Lord would protect his health. I don't want to lose him prematurely. But, while talking with him recently, the conversation took an unexpected turn. He was describing the many health issues he and his wife are dealing with and mentioned COPD as one of them. He was listing these problems with a kind of cavalier, “you won't believe what else I have” attitude that was alarming.
But, when he mentioned COPD, he had my attention. He announced that this disease has left him with only about 50% of his full lung capacity. My immediate response, knowing the habits of my friend, was “You're not still smoking, are you?” He had me on speaker phone and when his wife heard me ask that question, she (also a smoker) quickly responded that “It's a very hard habit to kick”, a sentiment then echoed by my friend. The tone of their voices elevated quickly as they bounced back and forth supporting each other in drowning out any objection to their smoking habit. It was clear they did not want to listen to any voice that might make them take responsibility for this risky behavior.
I was shocked by their mutual choice to avoid responsibility for this deadly habit. I realized, God may send many people to speak His love for us and His desire for the best for us, but, we have the complete control to block out those voices to our own peril. We can minimize the consequences until it is too late to make the necessary changes that God is asking us to make. My friend matters so much to me. But I cannot make him listen to me if he doesn't want to. I cannot make him tune in to the voice of our God calling him to “choose life.”
Ultimately, I began to wonder, is there any area in my life that God is trying to speak to me about that I am blocking out? Like a little child, we are all capable of covering our ears and refusing to listen.
How about you? Is there any habit or behavior in your life that you are refusing to yield to the Lord? Are you blocking out the voices that He is sending to get your attention? Have you minimized the cost of refusing to make those changes in your life? Are you fighting with God to be the boss of your life?!
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live...” Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV