Recently, I had an opportunity to spend an entire day with a friend passing through Bangkok.
The day was wonderful. We talked and prayed and enjoyed one another’s company. We had a lovely lunch together, and then we went for a leisurely walk. We even had some time to sing and pray more that evening before I saw him off to the airport.
That morning, in my time with the Lord, I was reminded of the verse, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19) Perhaps that warning was needed, as a majority of the day’s conversation was carried by my friend. His many stories blessed and challenged me. I truly appreciated them, but, all day, skirting along the edge of my consciousness, was one particular topic I wanted to bring up with him.
The clock was ticking before his evening departure, and I knew if I wanted to ask my friend the question on my mind, I needed to do that soon. Just as the conversation lulled, and I was about to ask, he turned to his laptop and began to catch up on emails.
My friend had gone out of his way to route his flight through my city. He had arranged to spend the day with me, and I was so grateful. We had shared wonderful time together, but there was this one thing I wanted to talk to him about before he left, and now, when he had finished talking, he dove into occupying himself with something else.
I sat back on the couch and asked the Lord, “Should I say something now? He’s not ready to listen.”
The Lord’s answer surprised me, “Just wait. How often this happens to Me with My children.”
Tears sprang to my eyes for two reasons. First of all, I wanted to speak candidly with my friend, and though he was in the room, he was unavailable, and I would not interrupt him. But, secondly, and more tragically, I wondered how often I was one of those children the Lord mentioned – unavailable to Him when He wanted to share something with me.
We can all be so quick to speak! We fill the silences with empty words. We enter holy places – holy moments – where God would speak to us – but then we crowd out His voice with ours and with our preoccupations. Maybe God is looking for friends who will take more time to simply sit and wait and listen. What, Father, do you wish to share with your children?
A little bit before my friend left, I did have the opportunity to bring up the subject on my mind, and I’m glad for the time we had to discuss that topic. But, I’m also glad he wasn’t available to have that conversation until the end of the day. Had my friend been available to listen earlier on, I may have never heard the Lord tell me how He often waits, longingly, for us to make ourselves available to hear Him.
My encouragement to myself – and to you, dear reader – is this: Make time and space to hear the Lord. Humble your heart. Stop talking. Still the noise around you, and quiet your soul. Look to the Lord, your God, and wait on His voice. “The Lord confides in those who fear Him…” (Psalm 25:14)
Speak, Lord. Your child is listening.