“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

“Did you hear me?”

I snap out of tunnel vision, look away from the screen (Xbox controller in hand), and find my wife standing before me, slightly annoyed. “I’m sorry, what?”

We’ve all seen this scenario play out before.

Or with my children: “Pick-up your stuff.” Only seconds later, “Did you hear me?… Then why is your stuff still sitting there?”

In both instances, the one being addressed had perfectly good ears—fully capable of hearing—but the message never penetrated. Several times in the Gospels, Jesus is quoted as saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:9), usually after sharing a parable or hard teaching. He wanted the message to actually get through.

Are we going to church, week after week, Sunday after Sunday, and hearing the truth of God’s Word but never actually hearing it? Are we regularly taking the time to dig deep—struggle even—in order to understand what God is saying through a particular passage of Scripture?

Or is our faith more akin to the young couple on a date at the table next to you; one is trying to carry the entire weight of their relationship, while the other has his nose stuck in his smart phone?

“Lord, give me ears that hear. Eyes that see. A mind of understanding. And a soft heart that responds.”

When it takes longer than you were hoping.

Occasionally, I get this feeling of unrest and nothing I do seems to fix it. There’s no apparent cause, I just get this sort of… ache or longing. It happened earlier this morning and I couldn’t focus on anything.

Until, I realized I hadn’t spent time with God in the past few days.

I’m currently working my way through another Flectio Journal and after looking at the dates thought, “I probably should’ve about filled this book by now.” Sure enough, had I been faithfully reading everyday I would’ve filled this 40 day journal yesterday. I’m on page 15.

Now I felt defeated. However, the point of all of this is simply to spend time with God, and each day is a step forward. I grudgingly turned to my next reading in Isaiah and picked-up where I left-off.

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters…” –Is. 55:1

“Why do you spend… your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me…
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live…” –Is. 55:2–3

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near…” —Is. 55:6

Suddenly, that feeling of unrest? Gone. The sense of defeat? Removed. It’s not about completing a task or getting through a number of readings in that same number of days. It’s about building a relationship and spending some time with the Father who loves you.

And since I wrote about it on page 15, I can actually look back and see : Not only am I one step further in my journey but even if I forget what God has said over the years, I can read first-hand about His faithfulness to me and get a quick refresher on what I’ve learned (regardless of how long it’s taken).