Thursday, March 24, 2016

Teach Me to Hear & See

I've heard sounds of things falling and landing recently.  I'd look around to see what fell and find nothing.  I've prayed recently for the Lord to teach me to see and hear better in the Spirit, particularly in light of a recent dream.

Living in our last parsonage and serving my last appointment in the United Methodist Church was a season of hearing sounds.  The sound we started hearing at the parsonage was the loud closing of a door.  I started hearing it.  I then started hearing it when I was alone in the house, and I'd walk inside and outside the house to determine what was shutting or being shut.  It would happen on days when there was no wind causing shingles to flap or flutter.  April started hearing it, and she'd ask if I heard it.  I'd say I'd been hearing for months, and I'd grown accustomed to it.  In light of what occurred in our lives and how our callings changed, its obvious now what was closing.  The Lord was telling us what was already taking place in the Spirit.

Near the end of last century, I took a leave of absence from pastoral ministry.  My last job prior to my return to ministry was in the hospitality industry - I worked in a hotel in Tuscaloosa.  I was at the front desk on the Saturday morning of The Iron Bowl, the annual football game between Alabama and Auburn.  I was checking guests out of their accommodations. One of the guests was the United Methodist bishop from the North Georgia Conference. I took the opportunity to introduce myself and share my status in the church.  He looked at me and asked me about the condition of my calling.

It was a dreary,  rain-soaked morning.  When the bishop asked me about my calling as a pastor would ask a congregant, I heard the loud sound of a low-flying jet aircraft.  What was a jet flying on such a stormy day as that and flying so close to the ground?  I stopped answering the bishop because the jet had startled me.  I asked, "Did you hear that?"  He just stared at me.  I figured he hadn't heard it.  I went on to answer his question.  He blessed me and my journey in God.  I thanked him.

For the next several minutes, I asked co-workers and a couple guests if they'd heard the low-flying jet.  Nobody had.  I obviously heard something to punctuate his question regarding the condition of my calling which was in flux but not abandoned.  Jet or angel or internal commotion is irrelevant.  I heard something to accentuate the moment and emphasize my need to evaluate my calling at that point in my life.  Today, I all the more want to hear and see what the Lord would want me to know regarding the people and world approximate to my life and ministry.  Teach me to hear and see, Lord.

Back in January, I posted about hearing Rocky Mountain High  in my spirit at work.  This was prior to my current request to hear and see and discern.  After a few days of asking for this particular gifting, I awoke from sleep in my bed hearing internally, Leaving On a Jet Plane by Peter, Paul & Mary.  I know I hadn't heard that song in months, if not years.  Where did that come from and why?

Last Sunday, the guest preacher quoted a parable from Mark 10:29-30,
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

In the spirit of how the preacher used this text in his sermon, the congregation affirmed the Word with "Amen," and "hallelujah" and applauseIn the midst of the expressed approval from the congregation, I heard someone say loudly, "Ponder-Twardys."  I dared not turn around to see who it was that spoke our name.  We're still strangers in this church. Who spoke our names?  In hearing our name, can I trust we who left houses and friends and comforts for the sake of the gospel will receive a hundredfold in this life and eternal life in the age to come?  Teach me to hear and see, Lord.

I trust these are the days to listen and see the Lord conveying truth, direction, conviction and love.  I will position myself to learn what the Lord would choose to communicate and to sharpen my senses in order to perceive that is placed before me.  Lord, teach me to hear and see.  Amen.


  1. I am aware of your needs because you pray and ask God to send you something that you need. I have learned to obey God's voice when I hear that I need to do something for you or your family. Each time, you or your family tell me that you were just asking God to send you exactly what Randy or I send. God is speaking LOUDLY! We love you.

  2. April and I know this is true, T. We love the two of you, as well.