"When We Need to Listen With Our Eyes"
"The one who listens to me, who carefully seeks me in everyday things … that one will find true happiness."
Proverbs 8:34 (The Voice)
"I just need to know you’re here," I told God, as I mindlessly chopped carrots in preparation for dinner.
The baby whimpered in her bouncy seat, the toddler begged for a snack and I wished our meal would magically appear while I escaped to the bedroom for a nap.
My body was weary from the demands of a long day with little ones; my heart was weary from the weight of unanswered prayer. I was walking through a season of loneliness, and I desperately wanted to hear from God.
I’d never heard God speak audibly, but I’d experienced the Lord’s "still small voice" many times in my life. In the past, words of Scripture had often leapt off the pages of my Bible. I’d gleaned heavenly insight from the lyrics of a Christian song, a sermon that pierced my heart or the inspired words of a godly friend.
Why wasn’t I hearing anything now? I’d been begging the Lord for a word of encouragement for months. But it felt like my ears had grown deaf to the sound of my Savior’s voice. When I read my Bible, the words fell flat. When I tuned my ear to Heaven, I heard only silence.
Just then, my 8-year-old son skidded around the corner with a shiny blue ribbon pinned to his shirt. He hopscotched across the dingy floor, laughing as the ribbon caught air with every bounce and flapped like a baby bird trying out its wings.
Suddenly, my laments were trumped by my son’s noisy chatter about the track meet he’d enjoyed at school that afternoon.
"I can’t believe I won the race, Mom! I thought my legs were gonna give up, but I just kept moving my feet and suddenly I was at the finish line."
His happy prattle mingled with the rhythmic clank of my knife on the cutting board, and I looked up to acknowledge his words with a proud smile.
"Did you hear me cheering for you?" I asked.
I wasn’t sure if my little runner even realized I’d been in the bulging crowd of parents flanking the track that afternoon. Despite juggling the baby in one hand and the camera in another, I’d cheered as loudly as I could when my son sprinted past us toward the finish line.
"Yep," he said with a grateful grin. "I heard you."
"Oh, good," I replied. "I wasn’t sure if I was yelling loud enough."
My bouncing boy stopped hopping on one foot and shrugged his shoulders. Then he looked me in the eye and confessed, "Well, I couldn’t hear you with my ears, Mommy, but I knew you were there, ‘cause I was listening with my eyes."
My son wrapped his arms around my middle in a quick hug, then pointed those fast feet toward the back door and dashed outside to join his sister. I stood silent in the kitchen with the echo of those words in my head.
When my child couldn’t hear my voice, he’d sought my face.
When my cheers failed to echo in his ears, he’d let my presence encourage his heart.
My heart lurched with conviction. Maybe I hadn’t grown deaf. Maybe I’d grown blind. In my quest to hear God’s voice, I’d stopped seeking proof of His presence.
Today’s key verse reminds us God doesn’t just want us to seek His word with our ears. He wants us to listen with our eyes, as well.
This concept is woven throughout Scripture from the first page to the last. God’s people are often commanded both to listen and look, to hear and see.
Bending our ears to the promises of heaven involves tuning our eyes to God’s existence on earth. We can’t hearken His word without heeding His "with-ness."
I dumped the carrots into the simmering skillet and turned toward the window to watch my son chase his sister across the lawn. They blazed a trail of giggles across the emerald green, as the One who paints the sunset ignited the horizon with a blaze of orange glory.
I looked and listened while the day gave way to dusk. And as the sun sank low, I felt the weight on my heart soar high. Then, before I called the kids in for dinner, I changed my desperate prayer for an expectant plea: "Open my eyes, Father. I’m listening."
Dear Lord, teach me to listen to Your voice with my ears and my eyes and to seek You in everyday things. I want to know true happiness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 68:33, "To Him who rides high up beyond the heavens, which have been since ancient times, watch and listen. His voice speaks, and it is powerful and strong." (The Voice)