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  • Writer's pictureJill Ball

ears to hear

God speaks, but do we have ears to hear?

God cares about the world, but do we have eyes to see?

Look at the birds of the air

At dusk flocks of birds fly across to roost near the sea, and at dawn they return to the forests. I can see them from my balcony, effortlessly soaring, unaware of their freedom.

Every year the storks pass through as we are on their migration path. Watching them circling the nearby minarets as I am drinking tea, is one of my life’s simple joys.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Matthew 6 v 26 - 27

There are so many things to worry about at the moment, that it is especially important to remember that worry doesn’t help. It doesn’t put food on the table. It doesn’t find us a new job. Our heavenly father knows what we need and we can trust him.

There are many things which are wise to do. We can be careful to not get too close to others, keep to our government’s social distancing rules and make sure we wash our hands – but that is not worrying. Worrying about Covid19 is not going to help anyone. If anything it could raise our blood pressure and shorten our lives.

Consider the lilies of the field

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Matthew 6 v 28 - 30

In truth, I’ve never been a close follower of fashion and so the lock down is an excuse for me to wear my most comfortable clothes and let my hair go wild, but it is still worth considering the flowers of the field. They are intricate, delicate and beautiful.

Whenever Andy, my husband, and I go for a walk I drink in the panorama, literally looking at the big picture. Andy, on the other hand, is searching for mushrooms. Apparently, every good walk needs fungi, but I don’t mind, because at the same time he spots all the tiny flowers that I have missed.

Let’s take time to watch the birds and consider the lilies, because by appreciating creation we are also appreciating the Creator.

This is an opportunity for us. Many of our activities have been cancelled and so we have time. (I know this isn’t true for busy mums entertaining or teaching children at home, or essential workers. Even if, at the moment, you don’t have time, it s still good to pause and appreciate the beauty of nature)

What is this world, if full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davies

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6 v 31 - 34

We can be so busy making a living or ‘getting on’ in life, that we miss its point.

Missing the point

After Jesus fed the 5000, the disciples were still worried where the next meal was coming from.

Some friends of ours visited from Iran. It was a wonderful time, and the mothers insisted on cooking all the meals for us all, and that we ate them all too, hungry or not! Before we had even finished one meal, they were planning the next - it’s Middle Eastern culture.

The disciples were talking about having no bread! They had just seen a miracle. They had witnessed Jesus multiplying 5 loaves and 2 fish so that 5000 people, or possibly more, were fed – but they still didn’t trust Jesus to provide for them.

They had completely missed the significance of the event. The Lord had provided manna for the people of Israel in the desert, and Jesus had provided food for the people in the wilderness. Some would see this as a messianic sign but his closest followers were still thinking about their stomachs – completely missing the point.

Jesus said, ‘Do you have eyes, but don’t see, ears but don’t hear? Mark 8 v 18

Jesus could be quite blunt. This is not the long-haired Jesus we see in stained glass windows, or the Jesus, meek and mild, of Sunday School. He was controversial, alternative, radical - unafraid to confront corruption and hypocrisy.

Let him who has ears, hear - Jesus

Active Listening

God speaks. The question is how much do we want to hear his voice.

It’s very easy not to focus on Jesus. In this busy world he gets crowded out.

It’s very easy not to think about God or to listen for His voice. All around us are other voices clamouring for attention.

There are times when I switch off and I let a boring presentation, lecture or sermon wash over me. My mind is elsewhere: with lunch or my next project. I’m not concentrating, and I don’t remember much of what was said. True listening is the opposite of this. It is active, not passive.

When we listen to a foreign language, straining to understand the gist, we are actively listening.

When the words of a song are indistinct, but we keep replaying it to hear them, we are actively listening.

When we concentrate on the words of someone we love and respect and we treasure every word they say. We are actively listening.

God speaks. Often, we don’t hear Him, because we are not listening.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Revelation 3 v 22

One Day at a Time - Lynda Randle

The lyrics of this Country and Western song are so pertinent for today. We need strength for today and we need to live one day at a time. It was written in the 1970's by Marijohn Wilkin and Kris Kristofferson, and has been recorded by over 200 artists. Lynda Randle sings it with feeling and passion.

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