There is a story told of someone who lived in a rural area, attending a conference in the middle of a big, noisy city. During a lunch break one day, he and a friend went out to explore the city, and in the midst of the noise and bustle of activity out on the street, the man stood quietly for a moment and then walked over to a tree near the road and pointed out two crickets sitting on a branch. When asked how he managed to see those two crickets, the man replied that he had heard them before he saw them. When asked how he managed to hear two crickets in the noise of city traffic, his reply was that he was used to listening for crickets. Even when the world got noisy, he could still hear the crickets because his ears were practised at listening for them. I wonder what we are practised at listening for?
The same is true for the things we notice. There is the wonderful experiment done, when people were required to count the number of times a basketball was passed round a circle. And they were so busy counting the passes they did not notice the person dressed in a gorilla suit walk right through their circle. What we are prepared to focus on, very often determines what we see. I wonder what holds our attention and what it is we are noticing, or not noticing, in the world today?
God invites us to know God’s voice, and to notice what God is doing in this time and place. But the world is noisy and distracting, and recognising God’s voice and noticing God at work can require practice, consistency, or even ‘a long perseverance in the same direction’ as our theme for this season reminds us. We may not always believe it, but God wants to share life with us, God wants us to hear and to notice. How are you learning to recognise God’s voice and notice God at work in your daily life?
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