God has graced me with the opportunity to counsel a lot of people. In those instances, I do my best to bring to bear whatever wisdom he has given me to their problems. Unfortunately, they often carry barriers that keep them from hearing that wisdom.
Literally. They can’t hear it.
Often that barrier is a lack of trust. If they don’t know me, then they don’t trust me. If they don’t trust me, anything I say is suspect, and goes in one ear and out the other. But if I’ve done my part to get to know them, and they’ve done their part to get to know me, then a faith in my sincerity develops, and they begin to trust the process. After some time, they learn to hear the wisdom. Once this kind of relationship emerges, all I have to do is prompt them to trust me when I notice they’re no longer hearing me.
I can remember a time when a woman I was counseling was in a full rage after having been offended by the words of a peer. Screaming, yelling, gnashing of teeth, and a fear of bodily harm and property damage oppressed the atmosphere. I tried my best to speak wisdom into her situation. But nothing was getting past her ears. Finally, during a brief pause in her rage, I was able simply ask, “do you trust me?” For some reason, she thought about that question. I reminded her of past moments in our relationship where my sincere concern for her well-being had been displayed. She relented to faith. She could then listen to the wisdom that I (and others) had to offer, and we navigated the morass in which she found herself.
Hearing God is very much like this. If you want to hear him, then you’re going to have to trust him. If you don’t, then instead of hearing God, you’re going to hear the voices in your own head. You’re also going to hear the voices of those things you do trust. Instead of hearing God, you’re going to hear what your comfort tells you. You’re going to hear what your fear of losing something tells you. In fact, you can learn to trust in the certainty of your heartbreaks, your failures, and your flaws so strongly that they become deafening.
But if you trust God, you can listen to him. He’ll tell you a different story. One of love, and victory, and perfect renewal.