“After Ricky had given us a list of the specials for the day, he said, “And the last special for today is pickled bananas on dry toast.”
“Pickled bananas on toast?” Stan replied. “What’s that?”
“Just kidding,” Ricky said. “I wanted to see if you were listening.”
“Well,” Stan replied, “you got my attention. I’ll have those special blueberry pancakes.”
“Me, too,” I told Ricky before he hurried away.
“Just like God,” Stan said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Quite often God checks to see if I’m listening to Him,” Stan replied. “However, He doesn’t have to wonder if I’m listening because He already knows. His checking is more for my benefit than it is for His.”
“Your benefit?” I said. “In what way?”
“Well,” Stan replied, “if I’m going to have the benefit of hearing what God has to say to me, the first thing I have to do is want to hear Him. If I don’t want to hear Him, I won’t take the second vital step.”
“Which is what?” I asked.
“Choosing to hear Him,” Stan replied. “And if I don’t choose to hear God, I won’t take the third step of preparing myself to hear and to be ready to obey.”
“Lots of choices,” I replied. “How do you prepare yourself to hear God.”
“It’s a heart thing,” Stan replied. “I have to prepare my heart, my inner being, to be receptive to hearing God’s voice.”
Continuing, he said, “We’ve talked about this a little bit; it’s a matter of replacing my naturally hard heart with one that is clean, pure, and filled with all that God has to fill it with.”
“Then,” I replied, “if you do that, you will be able to hear what God has to say to you?”
“That’s it,” Stan said, “as long I’m listening. The problem is that I too easily stop listening because I think I have it all figured out. I think I know what God is going to say before He says it so I stop listening.”
“Then what happens?” I asked.
“It depends,” Stan replied. “Sometimes I end up with pickled bananas on dry toast rather than the real special that God has for me!”
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23.
God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want to communicate to me what is on your heart. I confess that too often I don’t listen to you because I haven’t prepared myself to hear you. Pease forgive that foolishness. And please, Father, help me in following your lead so I will, indeed, choose to be prepared to hear your voice. Help me in not only being prepared to hear, but to also be prepared to respond in obedience to what you have to say. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you want to hear from God? Why or why not? Do you agree that you have to be prepared to hear God? Why or why not? If you think that you do have to be prepared, how are you doing with that? Is there anything you need to do differently? If so, what? Do you know how to do that? Is preparing to hear God something you have to do on a regular basis, or is doing it once sufficient for the rest of your life? Why?