waiting as prophetic practice

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Scripture: Isaiah 51:1-8

Lament: Be Still” by the killers

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Take It Further: Turn Up God’s Volume: Listen by Terre Lucas

I was not the kind of child who got in a lot of trouble, but that is not to say I didn’t push the limits. When my mother said what I could not do, I automatically started thinking about what she had omitted and how I might use that omission to develop a workaround to do what I wanted. I bet some of you did the same thing, too. As I got older, it was as if Mama saw the wheels turning in my head. She somehow knew a plan was in the offing, and as I walked away, I’d hear her say, “Girl, do you hear me?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I’d reply. Busted.

Even though she didn’t say, “Girl, are you listening to me?” I knew—and more importantly, she knew that I knew—that listening, not hearing, was what she had meant!

Keydifferences.com indicates that hearing involves our ears and is an ability, while listening involves our ears and minds and is a learned skill. I contend listening involves the heart (and the pain of whatever repercussions we experience for failure to do so, LOL). Rarely did I disobey my mother because I couldn’t bear “the look.” It hurt me to see not shame but sincere disappointment in her eyes.

There are a few occasions when I hear the sermon. However, on Sundays when I am scheduled to write, I listen. I didn’t have to listen long for something to bubble up in me today because the day had started with a question already in my spirit: What is it you want more of in life? In prayer, I answered with one word and didn’t wait five seconds before listing the obstacles that blocked my desire. The check in my spirit stopped me. “You’ve been asked ‘what,’ not ‘how.’”

Years ago, I had an idea for something; I named it; and I did nothing with it. Fast forward to Sunday’s message, pastor Nate spoke about God’s grace; it reminded me of my idea from long ago. After hearing that phrase once, I listened for it and heard it several times more. The wheels in my mind started turning. My heart softened at the thought of God yet trusting me with that.

The chorus to the song, Take Courage, which have been of comfort to me throughout this pandemic, took on a new meaning:

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting

After listening today, I heeded calls to be gentler with myself and the passage of time as, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s words, “Not all who wander are lost.” Listening, like courage, involves action. “If I watch my mind and heart, I won’t need to worry about my feet” (African proverb). “Become even more resolute in not breaking character; I’ve got a lot of heart” (Be Still by The Killers). When things seem impossible, turn up God’s volume.

Back in the day, I understood listening and doing as one response when Mama challenged my thinking myself larger or more ingenious than I was. As I remember forward with strength and humility as pastor Nate recommended, I pray that I understand listening and doing as one response when God challenges my thinking myself smaller than he created me to be. The statement, “The Christ in you is the one we are waiting for,” applies to me. It also applies to you. Listen.

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We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.

*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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