We’ve watched Netflix’s first season of ‟Anne with an E” and we’ve been enthralled with the characters. One observation I’ve had: people don’t listen. Someone will be talking and another will interrupt, and with strong objection. The first party will not get to finish what’s on her mind. Then later the second party finds out that the information that was trying to be offered could have troubling consequences if not heeded. The one engaged in conversation, seemingly to change another’s mind, but too often did not complete their exchange of ideas.
Then Sunday evening we had a sort-of annual meeting at our church. I grabbed the printed report off the table and there on the cover was the title or theme: ‟Listen.” I tried to figure out how this was associated with the meeting or report. Throughout the meeting, we listened to the pastor and laypersons give reports and testimonies about their involvement in the church. We left with the mandate: ‟Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19b, ESV). We can tell them. Will they listen?
God has had and continues to have problems with His people not listening. The account of the kings of Judah lists a see-saw of either doing what was right or evil in the eyes of the Lord. Some of the kings led the people astray because they did not obey the Lord. One king, Manasseh, started out as doing evil, for he paid no attention (didn’t listen) when the Lord spoke. After being taken as prisoner by the king of Assyria, Manasseh humbled himself and asked God for mercy. ‟The Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea” (2 Chronicles 33:13). Here we have the assurance that God listens to His people. When I think of prayer and the exchange between me and the Lord, I approach God with my words of thanks and petition. But if I want to hear what God has to say, I listen by reading His Word, the Bible. That, to me, is the two-way street of prayer. I know God listens to me as I pray, but I also listen to Him as I read the account He has left of His people. Be still, listen and learn.