Friday, August 19, 2011


Many of the posts I've written have to do with God meeting me in my pain.

I think that may have to do with something C.S. Lewis said . . .

"God whispers in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

I agree with Mr. Lewis about God shouting in our pain.

When comforting words from family and friends fall on deaf ears, when the word "hope" sounds like a foreign language, when cliches and platitudes make you want to reach out and hit someone . . .  His words are the only words that have the power to make a way through the darkness into your heart.

Sometimes, when He has spoken to me, it truly is as if He has used a megaphone.

I wonder though, if God also shouts in our pleasures and we just don't hear him.

It is much harder to hear Him over your laughter than in the crying coming from a broken heart.

It is much harder to hear Him at the beach over the sounds of children playing while birds beg for a piece of left-over sandwich, with your healthy and strong children playing in the water, than when you are sitting in a quiet ICU waiting room waiting for the next visiting time.

It is harder to hear him when the storehouse is full and overflowing, than when you are poor financially, emotionally, or spiritually, and all feels lost.

It is harder to hear Him over the voices of friends when you have been invited, than when you are sitting at home forgotten and alone.

It is much harder to hear Him when your arms are free to reach out to the world and everything in it, than when you are holding onto Him for dear life.

When the four-year-olds I taught came to the carpet for circle time, we would go through a ritual called putting on "our listening-ears."

I would pretend that I was reaching in my back pocket, pulling out my "listening- ears" and with the silliest actions imaginable, I would "attach" them to my real ears.

The children would giggle as they mimicked my actions while putting on their "listening-ears" too.

When we all had on our "listening-ears," circle time could begin.

I always had children that had a hard time keeping their "listening-ears" on. I'd have to stop circle time and ask them to put them back on.

I can relate.

On the days I do remember to put on my "listening-ears," they always seem to find a way to fall off.

I lose them in the moments when everything seems to be going okay.

I lose them when the invitations come, my calendar is full, and I am surrounded by people I love.

I lose them when Ethan is content and his life is full.

I lose my "listening ears" when the gifts become more enjoyable to me than The Giver.

I lose them when I fool myself into thinking I'm stronger than I am, and when I think that I can determine what is best for me.

Maybe God shouts in my pleasures as loudly as He shouts in my pain, but I just can't hear Him.

Oh, to wear "listening-ears" all the time.

To hear Him in all the pleasures of life as well as in all the pain.

That has become my heart's desire, and one of the reasons why is because of a moment after church Sunday morning.

We had parked in a handicapped parking place in the front row of the church parking lot.  Seth got to church a little later, and had to park towards the back of the parking lot.

Ethan was going to ride home with Seth. And as Seth started to push Ethan towards his car, he stopped.

He bribed Ethan to push himself.

Because Ethan's left hand is much weaker than his right, it is difficult for him to push himself in a straight line. He gets tired and wants to quit.

I don't blame him. 

It was hot, and it took Ethan much concentration and perseverance, but he made it to Seth's car.

The entire time, Seth was quietly and firmly encouraging him to keep going.

It would be impossible for me to choose which one I was most proud of.

I must have had on my "listening ears," because I heard God shout to me in that moment of pleasure.

I'll keep the words to myself but they were loud, and they were good, and they made the moment that much sweeter.

I wondered, how many times has He shouted in my pleasures and I didn't hear Him?

How much of Him have I missed, because I've been so busy and impressed with the lesser instead of the Greater?

I'm asking God to remind me to put on my "listening-ears" every morning.

My ears are made of dust like the rest of me. (Psalm 103:14)

So I'm also asking Him to please help me keep them on.

I definitely don't want to miss one thing.

Let circle time begin!

"I bless Thee for tempering every distress with joy;
too much of the former might weigh me down;
too much of the latter might puff me up.
Thou art wise to give me a taste of both."

from The Valley of Vision
A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

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