My mother used to say I had “convenient hearing.” She thought I was only hearing what I wanted to hear, ignoring the rest. I’m sure she was right some of the time, but not always.
In school, I learned to concentrate, to mentally close out the world, hearing no external sounds, aware of no movement around me. I suppose lightning could have struck, and I would have missed hearing the thunder. This was a great skill, because I learned the material and made excellent grades.
It also got me into trouble. The teacher could be saying something, and I wouldn’t hear the instruction. My mother might think I didn’t want to do what she asked. And my friends thought I didn’t like them, that I was snobbish. Actually, when I was lost in my thoughts, I wasn’t ignoring people. I didn’t know they existed.
If I want to hear God’s voice, I’d like to say he should speak more clearly, more forcefully. But then, if my mind is so focused on what interests me that I forget he exists, I wonder if I would notice a voice booming through the clouds.
To hear him, I need to be listening, and to listen, I need to be aware of his presence, to recognize him. He knows my thoughts, and if I’m listening, I might know his.
A voice came from the cloud. “This is my dearly beloved son. Listen to him!” — Luke 9:35

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