“There’s a lot of difference between listening and hearing.”
― G.K. Chesterton
A few years ago I got a referral to a hair salon and got lucky with a stylist who dumbs it all down for me. She also gets my irrational fear of getting a haircut that will make me look like a 14-year old boy. I’ve told her about my nightmares that getting bangs cut. Maybe I’m a little obsessed with my hair?
Within a few days after each salon visit, I get an email asking me to rate the salon. I like speaking up when things are good so I’ve given several 5-star reviews. But, a few months ago I’d had to wait an extended period for my confirmed appointment. This is highly unusual for this salon that follows a structured schedule. It also came on a day I had another appointment making me feel anxious about feeling rushed.
When the review request came I was honest. I raved about the stylist abilities but expressed dissatisfaction with having to wait so long for my scheduled appointment.
The following week, I received a call from the manager at the salon. She was clearly apologetic and explained the predicament my stylist was in from the new client she had in her chair that day. The manager didn’t offer me a discount or free products but she listened. I felt like I was heard.
Being heard is often all we want.
We especially want to be heard by God. When we pray we want to know He hears.
There are times, however, when it feels like God doesn’t hear us. There are prayers that seem to go unanswered. Some we’ve prayed for years. I may have even silently screamed “Listen to me!” to God a few hundred times.
The Psalmist words in Psalm 94 give me a strange comfort as he pleas for God to hear him. Four times he asks “how long, O Lord?” (Psalm 94) Even the writer of scripture felt God wasn’t listening.
When we’re heard we sense our words, thoughts, and opinions are valued. When it feels like no one is listening we feel insignificant. When we feel valued we feel like we are cared for. We feel like we matter.
We do matter to God. Yet, there are times he makes us wait. He doesn’t give in to our fussy crying like we might give in to a toddler throwing a tantrum.
It’s times like this when the only comfort I can find is that God is with me.
Like the manager of the salon, God isn’t offering me free products or a discount. He’s telling me what I want most, that he cares.
He hears me. He values me. I am loved.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 NLT
Where do you find grace? Inside the church walls? Around the dinner table with your family? For years, grace was not much more than the prayer we said before meals or a biblical concept. Then I met a group of men who had, as we say, reached bottom. They welcomed me to Graceland. They showed me grace can be found in the darkest of places. I'm still searching and learning. I hope you'll want to come along.