Chaplain’s Chat Rev. Dun Gordy
She was standing by their bike while her husband went inside to pay for the gasoline. She was about to respond to my greeting when a couple of Harley’s went roaring by. In mid-syllable, her head spun around and her attention was immediately diverted to them until they were well on down the Interstate.
You can pick a pilot out of any crowd. Just watch for the upturned head when a low flying aircraft passes within hearing distance.
Notice how many women grab their purse and men grab for their belt holster when a cell phone rings or beeps or buzzes in the busy restaurant.
I realized that my ear was searching for the source of a sound completely out of place in the crowded bookstall at O’Hare International Airport. The haunting hoot of an owl was barely audible and apparently unnoticed by my fellow browsers. But I heard it, that same sound I had heard deep in a Florida swamp while hunting deer the week before. My out-of-place owl was followed by the lingering laughter of a loon. Their cries came from the demonstration “Sounds of Nature” CD playing at the end cap of the “history” aisle. I wondered if I was the only country boy in that bookstore?
And I wonder, what does it take to get your attention?
Since I was raised right there are two tunes that will bring me to my feet. “Oh, say can you see…” and “Oh, I wish I were in the land of cotton…” The first three notes of “Dixie” or our other National Anthem will bring an immediate and automatic physical reaction whether I hear it consciously or subconsciously. If seated, I will be half standing before I realize it. If I’m standing, my shoulders go back, chin in, back strait, ears attentive – just the way the drill instructor pounded into us boot camp recruits when he barked “Attennn-hut”. I think he dragged out that first syllable purposely longer in expectation that we would already be in the prescribed rigid posture by the time he finished with “hut”.
Arrested attention prompts a response. So back to my question: “What does it take to get your attention?”
God speaks to His children in many different ways. Sometimes it is in the message of the pastor in the pulpit; or in the lesson of the Bible teacher; or the voice of some radio preacher as we scan the dial or surf the channels; or a friend in private conversation. Sometimes God speaks loud and clear and others hear it with us. But sometimes He whispers to us in that “still small voice” that is inaudible to anyone else. Jesus said in
John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
But sometimes it doesn’t take a word. Psalm 32:8 meant “I will guide thee with mine eye.” As a teenager, I could hear my mother clear her throat all the way across a crowded church. And when she got my eye, just the look on her face could speak volumes. And got the immediate response she expected!
Both of these verses say to me that I need to know my Lord as intimately as I know my own dear mother. And I need to recognize His voice just as easily as that of my own earthly father. And I will, as I read His Word and know Him better every day