Learning to Listen

The last week or so I kept hearing the sound in my mind. Almost every evening as I drove home. It was the “thump,” “jolt,” “crash,” of a rear end collision. If you’ve ever been rear-ended, you definitely know the sound. It’s something you don’t forget. And you know the feeling when that car slams into you. And the immediate fear, not knowing how bad your car was damaged, or if the other driver was injured, or if you were injured and just didn’t know it yet.

It usually happens when you’re in that wonderful bumper to bumper traffic, just inching along and not really sure why no one is moving any faster. You get impatient, and irritated. You’re in a hurry to get where you’re going, especially if it’s been a long day and you’re on your way home.

I should have known when I kept hearing that sound in my mind that the Lord was warning me of something. But like most of us, I ignored it. I just thought I was being paranoid because of all the traffic I found myself in every night. I had become complacent.

I didn’t listen.

And that night I heard it for real. I felt the jolt as my head slammed against the headrest. In that first split second, I thought I was imagining things. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt, except for a stiff neck, and neither was the other driver, whose car was smashed from hitting my big SUV.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I wasn’t paying attention,” he apologized, No, he sure hadn’t been. And it cost him, because not only was his car badly damaged, he got a traffic ticket, and a court date.

But it cost me as well. No, I didn’t get a traffic citation, but my car was badly damaged, and I’ve had to go see my chiropractor for whiplash on several occasions. I was inconvenienced because of having to get the damage estimate, and then leave the car at a body shop to have it repaired. I came home right after that accident irritated, angry, and fighting back tears of frustration.

Then the Lord spoke to me that night, and reminded me that we all need to listen better; listen more. No, it wouldn’t have avoided the accident. That’s not even the point. But the Lord used this to remind me of something very important.

Ear to listen

Many times we don’t listen when the Lord speaks to us and He has to do something to get our attention. Did He cause the accident? Of course not. But He kept me safe and the other driver safe as well. Most likely that young man who hit my car has learned an important lesson about paying attention, especially since he got a traffic ticket, and most likely points on his license.

And for me, I must say the Lord got my attention. He reminded me to listen better. There are so many times we all hear that soft voice speaking to us, but we ignore it, either because we don’t think it means anything, or we’re just too busy to listen. And we can miss something really important.

1 Kings 19:12 tells us the Lord often speaks to us in a still, small voice. Which means we must listen carefully to hear that voice; to listen carefully when we hear that whisper in our mind, and learn to discern when the Lord is speaking to us. I know I’ll be listening to that voice a lot more closely from now on.

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