My hearing is shot…literally. Several years ago, when I was attending Purdue, a pastor friend of mine, Mick, invited me to shoot his .44 magnum handgun. I’d shot a few guns when I was a kid, and I knew guns were loud. But I was totally unprepared for the .44 magnum. The first shot felt like someone crashed brake rotors against each side of my head. The second shot was worse. The gun powder exploded and sent shock waves that blasted past my eardrums and collided somewhere toward the middle of my head. By the third shot, I felt dizzy and disoriented.

Something inside me told me it would probably be unwise to continue shooting the gun–at least without some type of ear protection. So I told Mick I’d like to use some ear plugs. He told me I didn’t need them, suggesting the ringing would stop “before too long.” At least that’s what I think he said because by now all I could do was read his lips. Since he was my friend (not to mention a man of the cloth) I took his word for it and blasted off a few more rounds for good measure.

The ringing never stopped. Thirty one years ago when Mick told me the ringing would stop before too long, I neglected to quantify “too long.” That’s my fault. And now I miss a lot that’s going on around me because I blew out something important in my ears I needed in order to hear.

Some of us also have spiritual hearing damage that hinders our ability to hear God. Maybe we haven’t blown out our spiritual ear drums, but our hearing has been muffled in other ways. Apparently the people hanging around Jesus when he was teaching here on earth had a hearing problem too. Time and again Jesus made the comment, “He who has ears to hear…”

I believe God is communicating with us all the time. He speaks to us through the beauty of nature, in the midst of our pain, and through the serendipitous experiences of day-to-day life. We have opportunities to “hear” God throughout our day. But too often, we miss the message because we’re too distracted by day-to-day life.

And even if we are tuned in, there’s a difference between hearing the words and grasping truth. We know we are truly hearing when we “get it,” and we know we’re getting it when we’re compelled to align ourselves with the truth we’ve been given. May we have ears to hear – today – that allow us to hear the whisperings of our heavenly Father. And may our lives be changed as we respond to his voice.

“Ears to hear and eyes to see–both are gifts from the LORD.” ~Psalm 20:12

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