“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;” (James 1:19)
I stared after my husband in wonder. Why had he slunk away hurt? My words were meant to correct something that was important to me. Why was he being so oversensitive?
I admit I was a bit angry at him for his oversensitivity; but as I pondered this, God began to help me see things a bit more from his point of view. He was under an incredible amount of stress at work. He had been trying to share some of his frustrations with me, something that I usually encourage; but just as he was sharing, I saw a few of my frustrations (about him!) that needed sharing, too. What if I had followed the advice of Jesus’ brother, James? How much better might it have been if I had been quicker to listen as he shared his frustrations then to speak out my own?
This reminds me of the majority of my conversations with God. I talk. I yell. I argue. I cry. I pout. But do I take the time to listen to what God is trying to tell me? Prayer is, after all, a two-way conversation, and in any conversation, no one likes to do all the listening! God is no different!
Most of you reading this today are going through hard times. Think back over your prayers since the troubles began. What has been their focus? Have you been asking God for physical healing? For healing in your relationships? For a new job? For finances? For better living conditions? Have you been asking Him why? Have you been angry with Him for allowing you to go through this? Have you been asking Him for the strength to make it through?
None of these things are bad things. God tells us that we don’t have because we don’t ask: “you do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2). God wants us to express our emotions to Him, He invites us to ask Him “why” and He loves it when we rely on Him for our strength. The problem lies in the fact that we so often don’t take the time to listen to what He is trying to speak into our lives through this bad situation.
Think about this, my friends, as you go to your prayer closets this week. Ask God for healing. Ask Him for strength. Express your frustrations and your questions. But most importantly, take the time to listen. I guarantee you that you will be amazed and awed by the results!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.