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Pause and Listen

Am I the only one counting the days left in Lent? It’s a little embarrassing how weary I’ve become with fasting and the liturgical season meant to make me rely more upon Christ. And yet here I am, so eager to reach the promise (Easter) but losing sight of the need to seek and listen to God on the journey.

Yes, I am weary, worn out, prone to impatience and complaining to God about my life, whining about when are you going to answer me! Come on, Lord, hurry up and fix all the things going wrong! Whether or not the Psalmist whined as I too often do, I haven’t a clue.

But his words are my words: “Let my cry come to you. Hide not your face from me in the day of my distress . . . answer me speedily.” (Psalm 102:2-3)

Speedily, Lord! I’m tired of waiting and wandering in this wretched (spiritual) desert.

My journey is not over. God isn’t going to whisk me away from the daily crosses I have yet to carry between now and the end—whether I mean the end of Lent or the end of my earthly life. He didn’t instantly solve the Israelite’s problems, either. (Numbers 21:4-9) Yes, He heard their prayer just as loud and clear as He hears mine. But there is a lesson in their pleading, that while I wait, I must listen and trust.

In the day of their distress—the people were dying!—Moses cried out to God for the Israelites. He pleaded for relief in their urgent need. God replied, and Moses was listening. How often am I listening? How often do I even pause for a breath so that God can answer me?

When the Lord responded to Moses, He gave a command that the people must look upon a serpent to be saved. Certainly God could have saved the people in an instant, yet He asked something of them. And I think it wasn’t so much the serpent Moses fashioned for them that saved them, as it was their obedience and turning back to God with full trust.

What are you pleading for? Today, quiet your own voice for a few minutes, and listen to the Lord who hears you, and has an answer for you. Wait for Him, and trust.

Gina Fensterer is a Colorado native at heart, but the West Coast beach life suits her just fine. She currently lives in small coastal area of California with her husband and six children. She loves the Jesus prayer, coffee at any time of day, homemade salsa, photography, and sleepy toddler snuggles. You can find out more about her here.

11 Comments

  • Reply
    Alex
    March 20, 2018 at 7:59 am

    This may sound silly, but how will I know when I’ve heard Him? I have never experienced that moment or at least I don’t think I have. This season of Lent has been a true desert. I entered Lent with a broken heart and have been pleading to God to make it whole again. How will I know I’ve heard Him?

    • Reply
      Linda
      March 20, 2018 at 10:40 am

      I am praying for you. My mom often tells me if you ask God to show himself to you with complete sincerity he will. He will show himself in a way that is like a secret between you and Him. Something that is clear to You. It can be a word on a sign, a song on the radio, a message that comes to mind, a scripture that pops out while reading the bible or even a breeze of air. God is with you. There is so much pain but also value in the straining and waiting for God’s plan to be revealed. It seems like most often in my life God is waiting for me to let go of my will so I can accept His and appreciate the gift fully. Prayers for your listening heart.

    • Reply
      Shelly Norbeck
      March 20, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      I just asked a priest this the other day at confession. I didn’t really get a clear answer. Everyone says that whether it’s through things we read, hear, the things others say to us etc. is Gods way of answering. I have hard time knowing what comes from God and what doesn’t, especially in the areas we are struggling with or maybe don’t want to fully trust in. I just want you to know you’re not alone. Praying for you.

    • Reply
      Cassandra M Ortega
      March 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      A mom who has put her child to sleep is always listening for the baby to wake up. She may clean, shower, watch movies or be on her phone, but her ear is always waiting for a sound. The presence of the child in the other room does not stop her from doing what needs to get done, but she is in tune with the fact that the child MAY wake, MAY cry out and MAY need her. Hearing God is training ourselves to know that He is always here, He’s in the next room, He’s in this room, He’s in her, He’s in him, He’s in a meeting, He’s in traffic, He’s in the man asking for change, He’s in the cashier who is smiling though shes been yelled at, He’s in the child who is staring at you while parents are ignoring them. How will you train yourself, train your mind, train your heart to see Him, and feel Him everywhere?

    • Reply
      Megan Hjelmstad
      March 20, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Look into Ignatian Discernment of Spirits, Alex – some beautiful but practical tools for learning how God is “speaking” in every situation. Prayers for you!

    • Reply
      Gina Fensterer
      March 20, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      Dear Alex, I’m praying with and for you! Sometimes it so hard to know when and how God answers our prayers. Do not give up and do not despair. He loves you and hears you. Perhaps some quiet time in Adoration, when you try to quiet your own mind, you may find some peace and comfort. It’s a helpful place for me to start. Even some silent time in front of the tabernacle if Adoration isn’t available to me helps.

  • Reply
    Jenny
    March 20, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Sometimes he asks us to wait before he gives an answer. Yesterday, I was helping my toddler with his shoes, and my older toddler was in the kitchen repeatedly asking me if he could have the pistachios sitting on the counter. I teach him to ask nicely (May I have this, please? in the same room I’m in) and wait for an answer, and not to grab things down. As I was about to walk into the kitchen and remind him to ask nicely and give them to him, I saw him chomping away at them already. I thought about how often I do the same thing when I ask God for something. I don’t want to wait. I’m afraid of hearing “no,” so I just keep my distance and go ahead and do it anyway. I think hearing answers means abiding with him more closely, but sometimes he’s silent until he’s ready to answer because he’s trying to teach us something in the meantime, in the waiting.

  • Reply
    Jenny
    March 20, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Also, I failed to say I’m so sorry your heart is broken. Cuddle up in our Father’s arms and let Him love you. Let him caress your hair and wipe your tears and hug you tightly. Gaze into his loving eyes and let him tell you all will be well, that he is making all things new. Peace be with you!

  • Reply
    Melisa
    March 20, 2018 at 9:55 am

    God is always there. Sometimes we don’t hear because we aren’t listening. We like our brokenness – it is comfortable and what we know. Keep listening and praying. The answer does not come in our time, but it will come.

  • Reply
    Beth C
    March 20, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Alex, it is difficult to hear Him sometimes, and if you are not used to listening for Him, it can be a little harder. Usually, I find myself at peace when God answers me. Whether it is through another person, with actual words of healing and support, or through a decision I’ve made (finally!), or when sitting quietly in prayer, it is when I feel at peace that I know He has answered me. God is always faithful, in our impatience, we tend to let things get in the way of our listening heart. It takes practice listening to God…He isn’t necessarily going to make it loud and clear. You might find some time to sit before the Blessed Sacrament, or spend a few extra minutes before or after Mass, or go for a walk in the woods or some other quiet natural setting. He will answer you and give you grace and peace. I promise. Blessings be with you! – Beth

  • Reply
    Jenny
    March 20, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Also, I failed to add that I’m so sorry your heart aches so. I hope you can take comfort in snuggling close to our Father’s heart, letting him caress your hair and hug you tight and wipe away your tears. As you gaze into his loving eyes, may you hear him telling you how much he cares for you, that all will be well in his time.

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