Many years ago, my wife and I moved away to New Orleans to go to school. We were both in our early 20s, having been married only a year and a half. We were scared and excited, all at the same time. I imagine that our parents (both sets) were more frightened than excited.
Be that as it may, Tina and I had a cat at the time. But no pets were allowed on the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Since my parents had a small farm, I asked if they would like to have him. Dad said they needed a mouser, so the problem was solved. Unfortunately, less than six months later the cat died. He wasn't sick, so we don’t really know what happened.
What was a sad situation actually has caused much laughter for Tina and me over the years. First, my mom asked her mom to call us about the cat. My mom said she just couldn’t break the news to Tina.
So when Tina’s mom called, the first thing she said was, “Tina, are you sitting down?” Just in case you don’t know, that’s not a good way to start a conversation. When Tina started to cry I asked her what was wrong. “Sam died,” she said. And of course what I heard was, “Dad died.”
I grabbed her and hugged her, and then I sprinted to our bedroom, grabbed a suitcase and started packing clothes. When Tina appeared in the doorway I ran to her and held her in my arms. “I’m so sorry,” I repeated over and over.
Finally she asked what I was doing. “I’m packing,” I said.
“He was just a cat,” she replied. And then reality finally set it. We didn’t have to drive back to Atlanta after all.
But now I needed to call my mom. I will never forget that conversation. After assuring her that we found no fault in her, I said, “Mom, I’m sorry we gave you the cat. You’ve been paranoid since you got him.”
“No, Brad,” she replied. “I’ve not been paranoid. I’ve just been afraid something would happen.” Now, I ask you. How does on reply to that?
We’ve told the story many times since, always enjoying a laugh. But there is at least one serious lesson to be learned from it. Communication can be one of the hardest activities in the world. We talk, but we don’t listen. We try to listen, but we don’t hear. We mishear and don’t understand. And confusion reigns.
Jesus said, more than once, “He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” He was telling us to pay attention. Listen up. Don’t misunderstand. The fact is that God is speaking to us.
He has spoken clearly in the life and work of Jesus, his Son. His message is clear if we will listen. Are you willing to listen? Do you hear what God is saying to you?