Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

Attention, husbands of the world! Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you. You’re in deep thought and heavy concentration. Maybe it’s about what’s coming up at work this week. Or your mind is occupied with the how-to’s and the wherefore’s of a particular project. Or maybe it’s something real important, like the two-minute warning and your team is behind by a couple of points.

Then out of left field, you hear these words. ‘You haven’t heard a single word I’ve said, have you?’ Your mind springs into action and you come up with this reply. Yes, dear, I heard every word you said. Then why didn’t you answer me, she says. And you reply, what you said was so important, I was just trying to decide the best way to respond. She’s not buying it, though. Even when you admit to a certain degree of loss of hearing lately. That’s when you get this diagnosis. ‘You’re not hard of hearing. You have selective hearing. You hear what you think is important.’ OK, guys, you can put your hands down.

Is it just me, or does it seem like the sense of hearing is under attack by the noises of the world? Back in the day, as we old folks say, you could hear sounds on the farm that brought a smile to your face. Birds singing, crickets chirping, doves cooing, tree frogs tuning up their bass voices for their nightly performance. How long has it been since you heard church bells on Sunday morning. Or a babblin’ brook, a cracklin’ fire, or the cluckin’ of a mother hen?

There were also some sounds that you didn’t want to hear. Like that pesky rooster making his daily announcement. We had one ol’ bird back at Route 4 that, I swear, would start crowing about midnight and not shut up till the sun was high in the sky. And for the last couple of hours, his crowing was so hoarse, it was hilarious!

And then there were those times that we earned a trip to the woodshed by not paying attention. That’s when Daddy would say, “Boy, you must be deaf. Did you not hear what I said?” That’s another one of those questions that got us deeper in trouble if we tried to answer with something like, “Could you repeat the question?” Or when a smart-alec brother would say, “Tell him again, Daddy. I think it went in one ear and out the other.” And that usually brought out the anatomy proportion statement – “The Good Lord gave you two ears and one mouth.”

But, these days it seems like the sounds of traffic jams, jet airplanes, boom boxes, and jackhammers threaten to drown out the more significant sounds in our lives. I heard it said somewhere that words whispered in your ears have more impact that those shouted in your face.

So, here’s the question of the day. What are we listening to? Is it the whisper of a still, small voice? Or is it the deafening roar of a freight-train? In 1 Corinthians 2:9, Paul talks about the sweet sound of the angelic choir when he says we’ve never heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.

And in Revelation 3:20, we hear these words. “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” The key is remembering that the door has a handle on our side only. Jesus will never knock down the door. We must grab the handle and let Him in while He’s still knocking. As Priscilla Owens wrote in her beautiful song set to music by William Kirkpatrick, “We have heard the joyful sound, Jesus Saves, Jesus Saves!”

Satan would be happy if we all developed a complete loss of hearing. That’s why his ‘noise’ is heard in our world today in so many different ways. But there’s Good News. Even for those of us in God’s family who might have been deafened by the ‘roar of the lion.’ God is not hard of hearing. He doesn’t need a hearing aid. He has promised to hear our prayer and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

But first we have to hear Him knocking at the door. Could He be trying to get our attention today? He told Solomon that even in times when He withholds the rain, or sends locusts to devour the land or a plague among His people who are called by His name, He will still hear, forgive, and heal if, and only if, we take the first step.

Look around us in our world today. Do we see any ‘droughts, locusts, and plagues?’ They may have a different name, but they’re here. They may be  disguised as soaring crime rates, historical unemployment rates and job losses, high prices, evil hearts, broken homes, corruption, greed, and graft at every turn. The droughts, locusts, and plagues are still with us today.

But His promise to Solomon still stands today. It was written in red. He’s still willing to do His part. The question becomes – will we do our part? Which is to ‘humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways.’

We have no way of knowing just how much longer He’ll be knocking at our door. We hear it, and His knock seems to grow louder and louder with each passing day. But are we really listening?

Or is it going in one ear and out the other?