The past week was a good one in many respects. I was able to spend time with family and friends and I accomplished a lot. Physically I felt fine except for Saturday evening. The top of my right foot hurt; it felt very much like a bruise. It was not the first time I have felt this pain since my back surgery. When I was in the hospital I felt the same pain 2 – 3 days following the fusion my L4 and L5 vertebrae but I chalked it up to the weight of the air hose for the compression “leggings” I had to wear which was leaning on my foot. I have since learned that the pain on the top of the foot is not from the bone at all but from the “peroneal nerve” which is a branch off the sciatic nerve. When the sciatic nerve is flaring up due to trauma, impingement or spasms in the lower back this part of your foot can hurt and feel bruised. Sometimes the sensation is similar to the pain you feel when you have laced your shoes too tight.
To make a long story short, I had done too much on Saturday. After getting up before sunrise to finish my sermon, I mopped the house, went to the YMCA and walked 2 miles on the treadmill, came home and walked another mile with my wife, did some weed eating while my wife mowed the yard, went to Home Depot then walked around the outlet mall for about an hour. Yep, I did too much. I rested after getting home that afternoon and by the time I woke up the next day I was fine. I took it easy the rest of the weekend and I am going to try to take it fairly easy this week too. My wife is always encouraging me to “listen to my body”. Sometimes I hear but I don’t listen. I have always been the kind of guy that will push myself to do my run no matter how poorly I feel, thinking that it is better for me in the long run. Usually, I am wrong. “Listen to your body” my wife says. She’s right.
It’s not that I don’t hear my body; it is just that I have always had a stubborn, independent streak and quite simply refused to listen. Not only have I refused to be a good listener physically in my life, but there have been times that I have not been a good listener spiritually. There have been times that God has tried to talk to me through His word, through others and through my situations and circumstances and I have just not listened. Sometimes my problems with listening have been with my difficulty in discerning His voice and other times my problems have been with difficulty in obeying His voice. Over the years I have recognized my weakness in this area and prayerfully asked for His help to improve in this area.
Maybe you have had some struggles in this area too, if so don’t beat yourself up. We are not alone. The bible is full of people that God spoke to, people God used in a great way; people who had to learn to improve their listening skills. Check out Gideon’s story in the book of Judges! Hearing the Lord and following His voice takes practice.
I had a dachshund one timed named Cato. He was a good dog, he is my favorite dog of all time. That dog could do all kinds of tricks. He went blind when he was 2 years old. At first he was real depressed. He would just sit there in the middle of the room. He was scared to walk around in the house because he would bump into furniture; he was scared to walk around in the back yard because he would bump into trees. I tried to give him guidance by letting him listen to my footsteps. He was not used to depending on me or listening to me so I walked as loud as I could. I practically stomped around the house…and he would follow me. He still bumped into furniture from time to time. I would yell, “Stop” at him if he was outside and about to run into something. Eventually, he got to the point where he could hear my footsteps even when I was wearing my house shoes. I no longer had to raise my voice or talk loud to him. He heard my voice and followed my direction even when I talked very softly. He listened so good he even learned to do a whole lot more tricks even after he lost his sight. Oh, he was a good dog. I think that he became my favorite dog ever, not because of all the tricks he could do, but because of the close relationship we had. He wanted to hear from me, and he wanted to receive guidance and direction from me. He would always stop and listen to see where I was going so that he could follow me.
Our relationship with the Lord is similar to that. Jesus says in John 10:27
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me”
When we first begin our relationship with the Lord, it not always an automatic process to follow His direction for our life. Sometimes we pray and we ask, “Speak louder Lord, I am afraid I won’t hear you!” We ask Him to walk loud and talk loud so that we might know His will and His way. I understand that. I have been there. But I know that it gets easier as you spend more time in His presence, in His word and with His people. I know that you can get to the point that you more easily recognize and hear His still quiet voice. Your relationship with Him will grow and it won’t be because you learned some new tricks or did some good works, it will be because of the time you have spent together.
Make it your practice to listen to the Lord. He will lead you and guide. He will take care of you. And as He leads you and guides you, be sure and listen to your body. That is just one of the many ways that the Lord watches over us and protects us.
If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can send me an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org