"Are you listening to this? Really listening?" Mark 4:9 (TM)
As I approached the age of 40, I noticed that I was having difficulty making out what people were saying when they spoke to me. It was extremely frustrating. I could hear that others were speaking. I could hear the general tone of their voice. I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand the exact words they were saying. I went to the audiologist to discover I had significant hearing loss in my left ear. There are certain tones that my ear no longer picks up well, if at all. As a result, it’s hard for my brain to register the specific words people are saying.
Earlier this year I purchased a hearing aid for my left ear. The device certainly helps, but it isn’t perfect. Even with the hearing aid, I must strain to understand other people’s words. It’s a strange feeling. It often takes my brain extra time to register the noises I’ve heard and put them into an intelligible message. As a result, I will sometimes smile and nod while I’m waiting (and praying) that my brain can properly decipher the words in the next second or two. My wife has caught on to this. She will often ask me point blank, "Did you really hear me, or are you just smiling and nodding?"
I find it interesting that Jesus often asked his followers, "Are you really listening?" I would have to guess that Jesus often felt just like my wife feels in a conversation with me. We smile and nod at the teaching, but there’s a disconnect between the ear drum and the brain. The message certainly doesn’t get from the brain to the heart. "Are you listening? Really listening?"
God, aid my ears in hearing exactly what you are saying to me. Help your message to be received by both my brain and my heart.