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………………………….Blank Slate — Nothing Written Thereon………………………….

In the stillness I chose for this morning, I think of her: that excellent teacher who could enter a classroom and within one or two minutes gain the silent, undivided attention of every pupil there. Time after time.

Watching her taught me much: for my own teaching then, for motherhood later—and even today for experiencing and learning from God…

What a wondrous phenomenon: that roomful of fidgety sixth-graders settling into silent, complete, rapt attention—and not just suppression of outward behavior with minds yet jumpy inside. No, order reigned not only in the classroom but also within each child.

What she did was wisely simple. And it occurs to me this morning that God does the same wise, simple thing.

In silence she’d take her place before the class, then stand in silence and look out over them. She spoke not a word.

One by one they subdued their chatter, quit their whispers, quieted their restless movements.

She remained silent, looking on. With deliberate eyes she noted the fingers fiddling with a pencil, the hands probing a desk’s interior, the restless head turning, distracted by every bulletin board, the hand lifted toward a mouth to bite a fingernail.

Giving only a calm, knowing look—still she uttered not a word—till all the nervous motion ceased, all bodies stilled, all eyes focused expectantly on her, all ears obviously tuned in.

Excellent learning followed—partly, of course, because of her lessons’ excellent content. But that settling into such receptive state was integral to how such good learning happened.

God is like that, is He not? Most excellent of teachers, He tells us to look to, call on, wait for Him, for His Holy Spirit, Who “will lead us into all truth” and “teach us all things.” Trying to learn by mere human effort, we are but fidgety children, gaining only what rude, unregenerate minds could figure out from the text or sermon or circumstance through which the great Teacher waits to teach.

He is ever ready to instruct us. Yet to learn what only His Spirit within us can discern (1 Cr 2:6-16;2 Cr 1:21-22),  we must, I must, be settled, fully attuned. The fidgety flesh, the too-human mind, must come to stillness. Then, when He has our full attention, He will teach something wonderful, mighty, life-changing and  -enhancing.

“Be still, and know…” He says (Ps 46:10). “Cease striving…” (Ps 46:10 NASB). Come to a standstill, without and within.

God waits to be heard.

*****

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14 thoughts on “Waiting To Be Heard

    1. Hi Shelly,
      Profound is often very simple, isn’t it? The underlying truth in the above is that we cannot expect to hear God’s word and discern God’s will if we don’t stop and still and turn from the distractions to take in what He has to say.
      Teaching school myself as well made it clear from the teacher’s viewpoint that any real learning could not otherwise take place.
      Blessings on your Sunday!

  1. What an amazing word picture you crafted. How difficult can it be to still and quiet ourselves but how wondrous are the things we learn and see when we do!

    1. It is hard, isn’t it, Marty? Even when we’ve turned off the noises and zipped the lips a whole lot of “noisy” thoughts can be jumping all around our minds (at least mine). What I thought of adding but left out for brevity’s sake is that we can call on Him for help in this, in ways those little pupils couldn’t get it, because He can work in our troubled or distracted hearts to calm and still them. And then, yes indeed, how wondrous are the things we learn and see!

  2. Good analogy. A style after our Father’s heart… How could it not work? I never thought of that, but it makes perfect sense.

    1. Floyd, I feel I should have added that God certainly also does speak at times when He knows people are not receptive, as in the case of His words through prophets like Isaiah, and that in a sense His voice is always there to be heard. But from our perspective, we can not expect to hear Him speak what we need to hear until we settle ourselves to focus in and listen. Just like with that teacher.
      Thanks for commenting.

  3. What a wise and wonderful teacher! I used to be quiet, but now I’m one of those fidgety ones too. Thanks for these thoughts.

    1. Christina, I think I’m more fidgety than I used to be, too. I wonder if all the rapid-fire bombardment of our senses from every direction at once is making us more ADD? I have to take the time and make the effort to quiet, and even then ask God to bring it about in me.

    1. Yep, Hazel. That wisdom is hard for most of us because it lies in self-restraint. But those who practice it, as she did, pass it on, as those pupils “caught it” from her. This is good for me to think about when I want to race into “prayer” that’s just a torrent of words, or into “fixing” situations on my own.

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