I have found that I like to talk a lot more than I like to listen. How many times have I been talking on the cell phone only to realize when it rings in my ear that the call had been dropped five plus minutes ago...yet I've been talking away!?! Even sometimes when I claim to be listening, in reality, I am just talking in my head to myself about whatever it is I am really supposed to be listening to or about what it is I wish I were hearing. Yes, guys, you get the bad wrap about not listening- but you're not the only ones...
So why all my chatter? Well, in some weird way it is comforting. If I am talking, I somehow think I am in control...there seems to be more vulnerability in listening. As I have been diving into a study about hearing God speak, He started it all for me with one simple verse-
John 10:27, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me."
So as I drove home tonight in the clearing thickness of a stormy night, my headlights briefly lit a pasture's edge, and I thought about how much more there was that I could not see. I began to think about what it must be like to stand out there in the middle of night, simply in the middle of darkness. The Lord brought back to me the depth of His truth from that scripture. You see, Palestinian shepherds led their sheep- they did not drive them. The sheep followed because they knew their own shepherd's voice. But think about what it would be like to stand outside in the middle of that darkness and storm and have to be quiet to listen for the voice of the Shepherd. "Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)-that seems more difficult and impractical when surrounded by the dark and unknown...but my incessant calling would only drown out the very Voice of direction and protection that is longing to draw me nearer! I only need to call out once because His ears are already intent on me. He knows me. But I can only be led if my ears are intent on Him. The "knowing God", like in Psalm 46:10, is walked out by being still because you expect to hear His voice. John 10:14 says, "...I know my sheep, and my sheep know me." It is a deep mutual knowledge. The Lord doesn't just want to know me, He wants me to know Him...to have a deep knowledge of Him...to know the rises and falls in the sound of His voice...to recognize the subtle inflections...to not have to introduce himself each time He calls...to be waited on expectantly...all because I know Him. My Shepherd wants to impart that deep knowledge to me! Each moment I spend with Him, it is His desire and His delight because He knows that I will then, "...never follow a stranger..." because I, "...do not recognize a stranger's voice."(John 10:4) The Lord wants me to understand that I am vulnerable because I stop listening, not because I stop to listen.
I don't think I am in danger of running out of words to say anytime soon....I can always think of something to talk about! BUT... the Lord is teaching me to find comfort in the silence of knowing rather than in the noise of my redundant cries.