Listening – Day 3

"They also serve who only stand and wait"
John Milton

Listening, is intimately linked to waiting, but waiting is not exactly my favorite activity. Today’s quote about waiting comes from one of my favorite poems. I don’t know about you, but I love to read about waiting far more than to I like to experience it. Milton wrote this poem, Sonnet 19 (On His Blindness) because as his vision failed, so also did his hopes, ambitions and opportunities in life (or so he thought.) Though the poem does have a nice ring to it, what in the world does it mean? What kind of service would it be if our waiter at the restaurant, just waited. I want my food, my refill and my check in a reasonable amount of time. I am not all in on the guy or gal who is simply hanging out, leaning against the wall or hiding in the breakroom! But then I recalled a man in the Bible whose entire life’s ministry was to wait. His name was Simeon.

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Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Luke 2:25-26 ESV

Imagine an entire lifetime of waiting. Simeon grows up and watches other young men starting their careers, launching out into successful businesses or leading large congregations. His friends may stop by for tea and as they sit and visit, they ask him, “So, Simeon, what are your plans for this year? When are you going to get started on something new?”

But Simeon’s answer was always the same. “I am waiting for God’s Messiah and His consolation for us as His people.”

“But can’t you do something else in the meantime? Isn’t there anything you want to do or places you would like to visit?” But Simeon simply nodded his head and quietly trusted God while he said his prayers at the temple – week after week, month after month and year after year. Decades passed and yet Simeon’s hope did not grow dim and God told him to hang in there, because one day it would come to pass as sure the sun comes up in the morning. Simeon’s life reminds me of the proverb, –Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh it is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12

Are you waiting like Simeon? Are there dreams and hopes that God has planted in your heart that seem as far away as the other side of the moon? God has not forgotten you. If He has planted His promise in your heart, He knows what He is doing, and He will be faithful to make it grow in His own time. Just as God did for Simeon, the day will come when Jesus places in your arms all that He has promised you and then, just like Simeon, you will have a song and a joy that no one else could give you! And by the way, John Milton wrote his most famous work, “Paradise Lost” after he became completely blind by dictating it to others. John Milton, like Simeon, was standing and waiting, but He wasn’t just standing around!

Listening – Part 2

I finished a somewhat longer article on listening, but I will wait to publish that tomorrow. This morning I wanted to lighten the mood a bit by sharing a poem I wrote a few years ago, titled Ears. I hope you enjoy and that you will join me on the journey of learning to listen.

Ears

Only ears can hear
That's just the way God made us
If ears were eyes or nose
They'd certainly betray us

But when God fashioned ears
Those humble awkward things
That flop about and wiggle
On little inner springs

He made a way to tell us
How much we'd been forgiven
And then He set and tuned them
To hear His words from Heaven

Yes only ears can hear
That's just the way God made them
Humble listening gifts
Let's certainly obey them!

Ears by Peter Caligiuri
Copyright 2021
All rights reserved

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
James 1:19  ESV

Listening to our Children

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.            James 3:17 ASV

When driving through a snowstorm or rush hour traffic it helps to turn on some easy listening music. The soothing sound of the melodies can calm our nerves and lower the intensity of our situation down so we can better focus. Now if you asked our sons who was that easy listening person that they wanted to talk to when they were in trouble; that would have picked their mom. It’s not so much that Nancy was easy on them, but she made them feel welcome to tell her their problems. She was easy to be entreated.

James tells us that we need to ask God for wisdom and that includes being easy to be entreated. Maybe some of us don’t make others feel welcome to share their troubles; because we don’t believe that God will listen to ours. But the amazing truth is that God welcomes us when we come with problems or even just small stuff that we struggle with. Always remember that God never asks us to do anything that He hasn’t already done Himself. He is easy to be entreated; willing to listen and ready to teach us to be easy listeners to others when they are in need.