Are You Willing to Listen?

Thomas Blevins

Stories aren’t just found in a good book; they’re hidden behind the eyes of the person right in front of you. They have flesh, they have feelings, and they have a name.

But are we willing to listen?

This past weekend I had an opportunity to meet Jim during one of our weekend services. Jim had been attending Northland for about three months and had worked up the courage to approach me directly after hearing the message. Jim began to share some of his story with me, and as I listened, I found myself entering into the gift of being present.

Jim told me he grew up in the church and even moved here years ago to attend seminary to pursue a call that God had placed on his life. Shortly after the move, some life-changing circumstances occurred. His marriage crumbled, he lost his job, and he gave up on his faith in Jesus.

It took Jim 13 years of heartache, calamity and wrestling with God to set foot in a church building again. But he did, and he told me the impetus for coming back was reading Psalm 6 in its entirety and relating to the melancholy cries of David.

The psalmist says in Psalm 6:1-9:

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.

Jim told me that the verse “I am worn out from my groaning” brought him hope that he wasn’t alone and that he no longer needed to feel separated from a God who steps in to our groaning and sorrow and listens. Jim was reminded of why he was so passionate about pursuing God in his early years — because of His mercy, patience and kindness.

Jim had stepped into our church building to recommit his life to the Jesus who has always loved him and to find connection with a people he had yet to know. And I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to greet him with a warm smile and a listening ear. Could you be that listening ear to someone? If you’re interested in joining our Connect Team, that greets and welcome our congregation each weekend, email me at thomas.blevins@northlandchurch.net.