Are we really listening to God?
by PASTOR DICK RILEY
Rockford United Methodist Church
A park ranger at Yellowstone National Park was leading a group of hikers to a lookout tower. Along the way, he pointed out some of the famous sites in the park, and was so intent on talking about the history and telling the stories of Yellowstone to the tourists that he paid no attention to his two-way radio when it crackled a message. As the park ranger continued the tour, the radio continued to crackle, interrupting the sounds of nature and the interesting talk of the ranger. Finally, after several interruptions, the ranger simply turned his radio off.
As the group neared the lookout tower they had been aiming for, they were met by a nearly breathless ranger who asked his fellow ranger why he hadn’t responded to the message on the radio, for, their viewpoint, high in the next tower, he and other rangers had been observing a large grizzly bear stalking the ranger and his group of tourists. They had been trying, unsuccessfully, to reach the ranger and warn him of the danger.
Commenting on this near misadventure, someone said that many times we are so involved with our own personal pursuits and activities in life that we just don’t pay much attention to the voice of God trying to get through to us. That is especially true during Advent—during the four weeks leading up to Christmas. We get so involved with all the things going on around us—with school activities, work get-togethers, all the different parties, all the hoopla surrounding the Christmas season—that we fail to really listen, to really hear, the life-saving message that God is trying to tell us.
And what life-saving message is that? Just this: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel, which means, God with us,” (Matthew 1:23).
The question is: Are we really listening to God in this very special time of the year? Or have we allowed our busy, hectic lifestyle to drown Him out?