Think on These Things: The biggest gift of all – listening

I heard someone reply, “It does not really matter, because no one would listen anyway.” ... it was like a knife turning in my stomach

Hi!  How are you today?  I mean really, how are you today?  Are you being honest with your answer?  Phil Callaway wrote a book about one year of his life trying to be totally honest.  I have not read it, but I can imagine that it would be very funny.

Most of us would probably answer absentmindedly “fine.” “good” or something similar. We answer this way for one of three reasons. One is that we are actually fine or good. The second reason is we are in a hurry and this answer would be the quickest one to give. The third reason is that we would rather not say how we are really feeling.

The other day I heard someone reply, “It does not really matter, because no one would listen anyway.” Some people sort of chortled, but it was like a knife turning in my stomach to hear that reply. Have we become too busy to listen? Have we got too many problems of our own to care for someone else’s? Maybe some people don’t like to listen because they cannot fix the problem.

What can we do? Sometimes listening is the biggest gift. Have you ever had a problem that seemed insurmountable until you told someone else … then it shrunk? The listener did not need to give advice or instruction; they just needed to listen. At other times the person who listens seems to take the weight off the shoulders, just by sharing in the problem. Five minutes could mean the world to someone else.

Are you like me … sometimes I am scared to ask someone how they are doing, because I know they are not doing well and I don’t know what to say, or what to do. I am not sure at all how to respond to people who have cancer, or are dying, or have a sick child. What I do know is that I can pray for them. God has promised to listen.

Psalm 145:17-19. The Lord is righteous in all His ways

And loving toward all He has made.

The Lord is near to all who call on Him

To all who call on Him in truth.

He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him

And hears their cry and saves them.

David wrote this, and he was a man who understood what it was like when people sought to kill him, understood what it was like to have a son die, and many other ugly situations. But, he knew who God was and that God cared for him.

I know that God cares, so that is my prayer – that those whom I pray for will know how much God cares for them and loves them, because He really does and there is no better help or comfort than that of our Creator. Better yet, talk to Him yourself, He is never in a hurry and He always knows how to respond.

– Lynne Bode, Christian Life Assembly Church