Lots of people are good at talking, but blessed few, it seems, are good at listening. Have you noticed that?
When someone comes along who actually seems interested in listening to what I have to say, I know that I’ve been given a rare gift. I have a few friends who listen to me well—and I assure you, they are keepers!
The quintessential Good Listener, however, is God. I know that I can always count on Him to hear whatever I want to say to Him. It’s His job, after all. He’s God. He has to listen, right?
This idea was reinforced for me last week when I was reading Isaiah 65:24. There, God promises that “before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” I love that! It reminded me of what the David said in Psalm 139:4: before a word is even on my tongue, God knows it!
But Isaiah, speaking for God, wasn’t finished yet. Just five verses after reassuring us that God is committed to listening to us, Isaiah drops a bomb. The gift of listening has not been given reciprocally. I imagine wistfulness in God’s voice when He says, “When I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen” (66:4).
We know for a fact that God wants us to talk to Him. A faithful friend, He delights in listening to us. He wants us to tell Him what is on our hearts and minds because He is interested in us and loves us. But, Isaiah makes it clear that God wants more than just a one-sided relationship. He also has things on His heart and mind. He would like someone to listen to Him!
Earlier today a close friend thanked me for listening to the things that she cares about. She’s one of those rare people I can always count on to listen to me. It made my heart glad to hear her say that she also feels listened to by me. I’m grateful that we have a reciprocal relationship.
I want to give that same gift to God. I have a long way to go. I still do far more talking than I do listening. So, borrowing from John the Baptist, my prayer is, Lord, Your speaking must increase but mine must decrease! (John 3:30).