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Just dropping by ... Eyes to see and ears to hear

Yevet Tenney Published on 31 December 2015

Someone sped up the clock. It’s just not right. Christmas comes every other month now, and the rest of the holidays are crunched in between.

January is almost an afterthought. I remember, as a child, waiting years for January to pass before Valentine’s Day came. Now it seems that Valentine’s and Christmas are two weeks apart. January is stuck in between with one tiny fleeting thought about resolutions and new beginnings.

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I don’t know about you, but I need that time to re-evaluate the scattered pieces of my brain and put them back together. In computer talk, I need to defrag my life.

The treadmill of life doesn’t afford me the time to stop and think, let alone sort out the pieces and put them where they belong. I blindly go from one task to the next without rhyme or reason. I finish one task and find 10 more screaming for my attention. I thought when you retire you were supposed to have all kinds of leisure time. Not true!

Back in the old days, before the Internet and the media, there was time to sit and watch the sunset on the porch swing. There was time to notice the budding of new flowers and the coming of spring.

You could almost predict the weather because you knew the sky. Nothing passed your gaze: the clouds, the rainbows and the moon’s progression in the sky.

You noticed the changing color of the leaves and took pleasure in the falling snowflakes as they spread in a sparkling blanket across the ground. Back then, you looked up to the velvet blackness of the sky splattered with trillions of stars and stood breathless at the greatness of the universe.

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You heard the twitter of birds and the chirp of crickets. You listened to the rain on the roof and heard the whisper of the breeze in the pines. You even listened to the stillness that was so quiet it hurt your ears.

Nowadays we are plagued with self-imposed blindness and deafness. I think that was what Jesus was talking about when he said:

Therefore, speak I to them in parables: because they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand.

And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.

—Matthew 13:15

I wonder how much of life we are missing when our eyes are tuned into the Internet, and our ears are tuned to hear nothing but the ding of our smartphones. How many miracles do we miss and how many whispers from the Holy Spirit go unheeded?

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Jesus said he talked to the people in parables because they didn’t see or hear, and they could not understand. Parables are perfect instruments of education. The meaning is hidden in a simple story, and a person must take the time to sort it out to understand the significance.

Jesus teaches the same way today. Miracles and lessons of our lives are hidden from view unless we take time to think about our experiences and ask the questions, “What am I supposed to learn from this experience? Are there hidden messages in nature? What can I learn from listening in my prayers?” I wonder how much we miss because we have forgotten how to ask those questions or don’t take time to ponder.

Long ago, when I took time to ponder and meditate on my life, someone told me that I should pray for spiritual experiences. The Lord would bless me with what I asked for.

One morning, I thought I’d just try out the advice. At the time, I was in good shape. I could run/walk about 8 miles and did it nearly every day. I was single, so I had time on my hands. That was before someone sped up the clock.

Anyway, that morning, I prayed fervently and with faith asking for a spiritual experience. I was a little disappointed; the morning passed and I still had not received my answer. I went for my walk, and still nothing.

As I walked, I noticed off in the distance something black flapping in the wind. As I got closer, I could see that it was a crow dangling from a tree. It was still alive. I instantly grew angry at the person who had tied him there, but as I got closer, I realized that the crow’s curiosity had gotten him in the situation. A plastic six-pack holder had ensnared the curious bird. He was hopelessly caught.

I know it isn’t wise to touch wild animals, but I just couldn’t leave him there. I reached out; to my amazement he didn’t flail or try to peck me. He settled under my touch. I was able to untangle him. I set him on my arm, and he sat there for a few moments, not trusting his freedom. Then he spread his wings and lifted into the sky.

Tears stung my eyes as I envied his freedom. I wished I could fly like that. As if in answer to my longing, the thought came into my mind. “You are free. You can fly spiritually because Jesus set you free. He died on the cross to pay for your sins.” There was my spiritual experience. The Lord had answered my prayer in a magnificent way. He had given me a parable that I could feel and understand.

Nature is full of parables. Think of the seed growing into a plant. It grows and gives fruit; then it dies over the winter and is resurrected in the spring. How like the resurrection we all wait for, and the hope we have to see our loved ones who have passed on. Will they not wake on Resurrection morning just like the plant who seems dead but blooms again?

Think of the snowflakes, each one unique and beautiful, how they gather with other snowflakes to make a beautiful blanket of silver covering the earth. How they are like the Kingdom of God. Each one of God’s children are different, but they come together with their unique talents to make something beautiful.

Think of streams and rivers constantly flowing to the sea. Are they not like the righteous running daily to the fountain of God’s love through prayer? Think of the ground being watered and foliage being renewed by the service of the streams. Ponder on the Living Water that Christ talked about. How does it fit?

What about the pattern of night and day? The sun and the moon? Are we not like the moon, a reflection of God’s light? What about the light of the sun? We see so much better when we have light. The brighter the light, the more we see. Light can chase away darkness. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the light.”

Parables and manifestations of God’s love are all around us, but we cannot be heavy-eyed and deaf. We must sincerely want to know. We must ask. It can’t be just a passive prayer or a grocery list of “I want.” It must be a searching, questioning prayer with a heart turned to His will.

We must take time to listen when we ask. Sometimes He will tell us in our mind in that very moment. Sometimes His answers come later in the day. Sometimes we wait a very long time to understand what He is trying to say to us. But He is there, and He listens to every heartfelt prayer.

I’m sure He gets tired of the jangle of vain repetition, but He will give us a parable to think about if we have “eyes to see and ears to hear.” It will be wonderful, one day, to hear Him say of us ... “blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.”  PD

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