Someone passed comment a few weeks ago on how lovely it’s been to hear the dawn chorus again. Suddenly, it had resonated in the lady’s mind for the first time this year. Perhaps not so much in recent days with the adverse weather conditions that we have been faced with, but at least it has acted as a timely reminder of our varied birdlife population too, and the need to do our bit in caring for them. When you think about it, it’s quite extraordinary the number of different sounds that come our way during the course of a day. Everything from the rich and diverse sounds of nature, the cry of a baby, the words we hear in conversation, sounds we hear through laughter, music, song and, less appealing, the shrill sound of road works, or of busy traffic. All of these sounds and more are common to us in the daily round of life.
At another level, the question that has been raised from time to time is how do we hear God? Perhaps the answer to that question depends on us, and whether or not we make time to listen. I haven’t met many people who would say that they have heard the audible voice of God, but that doesn’t mean He has stopped speaking. I know there are those who have embarked on a silent retreat, and who have come away with a strong conviction of what God wants them to do. God certainly uses the channels of prayer, the Scriptures, and the promptings of His Spirit to make Himself known. Sometimes He may use the voice of others who speak to our situation through a timely word of wisdom and insight. And, of course, He uses the gift of conscience, although we have to acknowledge that conscience is not infallible.
With the dawn of Easter we celebrate once more the central truth that Christians worship a living God. Easter re-affirms Christ’s promise, “to be with us to the end of the age.” His resurrection revealed, from the beginning, how He continues to speak to His followers in their deepest needs, hopes and fears. He spoke to a distraught Mary in the garden; the two bewildered followers on the road to Emmaus; the fearful and doubting disciples in the upper room; the downhearted fisherman in the fishing boat returning to the shore. It’s sometimes hard to take it in, but we are no less important to God. In this frenetic age, perhaps we need to take more time to stop, to listen, to reflect and to pray. My prayer is that we make it more of a priority, and try to discern more clearly the voice of the living God in whichever way is best for us. One thing we can be sure of, God does have something to say, “a word in season” may be a helpful way to put it. May each one of us have ears to hear and hearts to respond.