Listening is an act of faith. It is being awake to God and his speaking personally to us. It is being aware of God and that he is personally present with us. Wakefulness, watchfulness are conditions for listening. Too often, though, we are disciples asleep, unaware, unconvinced that God is in this place.
“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me?” (John 14:9)
It is much easier to think of faith as an act of speaking on our part, of God waiting on us. And so it often is. Just as often, though, it is an act of not speaking on our part, of our waiting on God. The faith to wait is as vibrant as the faith to move.
In fact, our faith both moves and is moved. By the time my faith moves to listen to God, I realize God has already made the first move and drawn me to himself.
In many ways, listening by faith is like surrendering by faith. By the time God asks you to surrender all, you realize that you’ve already given him all. This last act of surrender is simply the culmination of an ongoing series of acts, of surrendering a little bit of yourself at a time.
So listening is ongoing. Little by little knowing more and more. Those who wait until they come to a sermon to listen for God will find it difficult to hear him. But those whose listening is ongoing daily will come and find it easy to hear him.
For all of us who come to the preaching of God’s Word, we can either sit and wait for something to grab our attention or we can come already attentive to “God with us”. We can come fully awake, aware, and ready to listen in on the ongoing conversation of God with us, to receive the living and active word of God deep into our hearts.
“Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” (Luke 8:18)