February 2, 2012


Late at night, on a road out in the rural areas far from big cities, someone spins the dial on the AM radio looking for a station to tune into. I've done it myself many times. Some of the channels are empty, some may have a distant signal that will come in clear enough to understand easily. Much of the time, you'll hear two or more stations from afar, struggling to gain the radio's full attention.

As the stations fade in and out, you can sometimes hear a weaker signal that remains steady underneath the static and noise. With some careful attention, you can manage to listen to that station while ignoring the louder ones that waver and shift.

Listening for the still, small voice of God's guidance can be like that sometimes. For me, it can be like that much of the time. Worries, resentments, and desires all compete to drown out that one quiet voice. It takes patience, practice and attention to consistently listen for it.

Static interferes with my listening to you, too. I have things to do, places to be, and insignificant musings to distract me from hearing you. Your pain becomes a voice in the distance, sometimes too far away for my heart to hear. Listening becomes work, and difficult work at that.

Romans 8:22-27 speaks much about groaning. The groans of all creation, the groans of the Holy Spirit interceding for us, and our own groaning as we wait for our adoption as His children and the redemption of our bodies.

It's not a pleasant sound; it's the sound of pain and suffering. We instinctively want to avoid hearing the pained wailing; it reminds us too much of our own pain.

We want to forget the pain. We do everything we can to avoid those memories. The intense, short-term pains we don't mind remembering quite so much, just to avoid having that happen again. But the ones that linger and throb, we want to get away from those. Especially the pains that remind us of the pain we have caused others.

That's why I don't want to listen to you; you might remind me of my own wounds. Your pain might hit too close to home for me to remain in my distracted illusion of comfort.

But trying to keep your pain from getting too close to me doesn't help you one bit, and it actually brings more harm to me.

As I sit with you through your pain, I learn to walk through mine. As I practice gentleness towards your pain, I learn to practice that same gentleness with myself. And in the midst of us as we deal with the pains of our lives, His comforting Holy Spirit is there with us, bringing us His healing.

And then, the static is gone; replaced by quiet clarity and peace. There we are renewed in our inner being. In the silence of our own pain being healed, we realize the pain that the Son endured for our redemption.

"Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried. Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed."
Isaiah 53: 4 and 5, NASB

All He asks of me in return is to obey His Word.

His command to listen.

To listen to His Son.

To feed His lambs; not only the physical body, but also the soul.

To feed by listening.

By sharing in your pain and suffering to understand His pain and suffering for us.

To learn compassion and mercy for you, and to understand His compassion and mercy for me.

Love always carries risk. Sometimes the risk is of getting hurt, sometimes it is the risk of feeling the pain of others.

It is the only way for us to heal.

I can't really listen to you, unless I'm listening to Him. In fact, listening to you is often the best way to hear Him and his guidance.


  1. Beautifully put to words, Eric. Thank you for your writing. And your perceptive insights.

  2. Resonates within me - so beautiful, so true!