We recently had a malfunction with the garage door at the parsonage. While the door needed professional attention and clearly nobody was at fault with the mechanical movement of the door going awry, the communication about the malfunctioning door is what caught my attention. I think I can say that the communication that day was worse than the malfunction itself. One might say there was a communication malfunction that led to unnecessary stress.
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “communication” as “transmitting, or giving or exchanging information.” Our communication malfunction began when I failed to hear and comprehend what Melissa had given me. I had already left the house and was out of town when she told me the garage door was off the track. I assumed that the door was left standing open, making us a soft target for thieves. I pictured the door dangling from its tracks and masked bandits slipping into the garage to steal my golf clubs. The entire morning I stressed about the opened door.
In fact, when I got back to town, I found a section of the garage door was off the track but the door was closed and nothing had been stolen. If I had only heard the information that was transmitted, I would not have worried. I should have slowed down and listened more carefully.
Our faith lives might resemble that scenario. Maybe we are in such a rush that not only our senses, but even our hearts and minds don’t receive the communication intended. It seems like I hear folks say far too often they prayed and God didn’t answer them. Or perhaps they overlook where God has been or how God may have already replied and don’t want to consider the answer that is before them. Time for a personal admission – I have been charged with “selective hearing”, and as painful as it is to admit, I have been guilty more times than innocent. And that is not just in my family life, but in my faith journey as well.
I think it is important for us to stay sharp so that communications can be received and understood in the most clear and efficient ways possible. We are created to be people of relationships and that includes the desire God has for us to be in a relationship with God, the One who created us. All sorts of spiritual communications are around us. Some of it is in writing (the Bible) of course, but some occurs through the work and power of Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It’s also amazing what we pick up and learn from other people. In our personal and corporate prayers and in our small groups and also in worship, we ask, but we also should pray for the peace of listening to and for God.
But sometimes we prefer the communication of the secular (the powers of the world) instead of the divine communication. We can examine a week of our calendar and see where the priorities are in our relationships. We can listen to our choice of words we use in conversations or examine our actions to see who or what has a greater communication link and influence with us.
It’s too bad we don’t give adequate time to communicate with the One who truly loves us. The good news in this continues to be that God has not given up on us. God still wants us to come and trust more fully so that God’s great love can take center stage in our hearts and that all that we are and do, including our communications, are done to the glory of God. This is the one time to be selective in your hearing and listening. It will change your life forever!
See you in worship!