Am I Going Deaf?
About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” Acts 10:3
My family thinks I’m losing my hearing. They may be right, but I don’t only have a physical problem with my ears. Often, I’m preoccupied enough that I don’t really choose to listen. When someone is talking, I should be focused on what he or she is saying. Often though, my mind is so focused on me that I just don’t listen. Hearing aids may be useful, but no medical technology can fix my listening problem.
The solution is to develop the discipline of listening. I can’t just do it once though and then go back to my old ways. If I want to know what my loved ones are saying, I must choose attentiveness every day. I don’t maintain my side of a relationship by focusing only on myself. If I want to truly understand someone, I must invest in the relationship and truly listen to him or her.
Today’s passage is about a man named Cornelius, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God (Acts 10:2). Cornelius practiced communication with God and God noticed. Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God (Acts 10:4). Because Cornelius spent time and energy on his relationship with God, God spoke, and Cornelius heard.
In my addiction, I turned a deaf ear to God. Unable to comprehend anything past my own self-destructive appetite, I was terminally focused on me. In such a state, even if God spoke, I refused to listen because I didn’t like the message. Confess. Go to treatment. Change your life. I didn’t want to do any of those things and so I chose deafness and ultimately, disaster. If I had any chance at redemption and transformation, I needed to begin listening to God. To do so, I had to invest time and energy into that relationship, something I’d abandoned in my drug use.
If we cannot hear God, then it’s often because we’ve not practiced listening. If we desire to hear his voice, we must invest in the relationship, reading, praying, meditating and listening. We must do this, not just once, but daily. If God is the most important relationship in our lives, then we should act like it.