Monday, December 8, 2014

The Importance of Ears

Sunday was the Christmas choir program and, since this was the first time I've sung in a choir since high school (which was a few decades ago), I was naturally very excited. We were to be there at 5:00 pm, which meant I had to leave my house by 4:30 pm.  The timing was a little bit of a challenge for me.

Well, actually it was a lot of a challenge. I had planned to get feed on Saturday after the Blue Springs Senior Citizen Luncheon. I had driven my truck to the luncheon, then decided to take the dirty tablecloths to the house and start them in the washer before I went to the feed store. (I probably shouldn't admit this, but this is an evening confession. Just don't think I'm a total nut.) I usually back into the truck's parking place by my house. For some reason, I decided to drive in, then do some maneuvering, and turn around. I didn't count on how wet the ground was from the recent rain, and my truck got stuck. That should not have been a problem, because it has four wheel drive. It was a problem, however, because I forgot how to get it in four wheel drive. I struggled and struggled. Finally, I admitted defeat and asked Sam. He couldn't remember either. We both admitted defeat and text'd Bill the Magnificent, who text'd right back with easy directions. By that time, it was getting late and I was facing unloading 850 pounds of feed in the dark. I really hate unloading feed in the dark, so I decided to get the feed after church on Sunday. My ox was not in the ditch, but my truck kinda was.

After church, I stopped to buy feed on the way home, then had to change clothes to go to the barn. The new guy who loaded my feed had a little problem with his equipment, which I didn't realize until I got home. It turned out that he had somehow put the feed in so that I had to climb into the bed of the truck for every bag, then drag it to the edge, hop out, haul it into the barn and stack it, then climb back in for the next bag. 850 pounds of feed later, I was dirty and sweating, but the feed was unloaded.

The livestock had to be fed before I left for choir, but I had just fed the horses a few hours earlier. I made a very careful calculation and decided to feed all the livestock at 3:15. That would give me time to feed everyone, take a quick shower, and still leave on time. It would be plenty of time IF everything worked right. I didn't count on the problem with Toby and his ears.

At 3:15, I went to the barn, put feed in the horses' feed troughs, opened the barn door, and called. "Come on, girls!" Admittedly, Toby is not a girl, but he usually comes anyway, right along with the mares. This time, Cali and Belle came, but no Toby. I called and called. I whistled and whistled. Since he is 28 years old, I always worry when he doesn't come up. I was desperate. Time was getting short and I was going to be late. I decided he had fallen over dead in the pasture. I would have to deal with a dead horse and would have to miss my choir program. I was on the verge of tears. (That's what vain imaginings will do for you!) I began to plot how to deal with his body. This was not going to be good.

Finally, I stopped to pray about how to deal with my dead horse's body, and it seemed as if I was getting some directions that sounded a lot like, "Go look." That would be helpful, I supposed, because I could tell a little better how to deal with his body if I knew where he had fallen. I admit it. I was having a totally crazy-frantic moment. It was muddy outside the barn, but I waded through to find the body of Toby, my very first horse. He has been more cantankerous than a mule for years, but at that moment, he was the best horse that had ever lived.

I walked through the pasture and continued to call Toby, just in case. As I topped a little hill, I had the most amazing sight! Toby hadn't fallen over dead at all! Toby was standing there, eating grass, as calm as a cucumber. I called him and he never looked up. Finally, I walked up to him and touched him. He seemed surprised to see me. It was at that moment that I realized the problem was his ears. He couldn't hear me. He had wandered away from the other horses and, alone in the pasture, he had no way of knowing I had called him. I motioned to him and he started following me back to the barn.

There's more than one lesson in this story (beginning with the value of avoiding vain imaginings) but we are only looking at the importance of ears tonight. The loss of Toby's hearing puts him at a distinct disadvantage. He can't hear danger approaching. If he can't hear my voice, he doesn't know when I'm calling him for a meal or for a ride. Not only does he miss his nourishment, he misses the time of interaction with his humans, too.

We, too, can have problems with our ears that prevents us from hearing the voice of the Master calling. When the cares of this world or the sin that so easily besets overwhelms us, when our lives are filled with clamor and strife, that Still Small Voice of God is not easy to hear, is it? The problem with lack of hearing is that we can easily miss the blessings God has planned for us when we fail to hear His call. Even more important, we miss that sweet interaction and communion with Him that He offers so freely.

Can you hear the Still, Small Voice? Listen closely. Your Master is calling.