Devotional — God connects through our senses: Hearing

Published 2:30 pm Thursday, August 18, 2022

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One of the amazing things about being human beings is that we have different ways of experiencing the world around us through our senses. Our God in whose image we are created even seems to experience us through senses. My devotions in this time are walking through reflections of how God connects us in our senses.

This devotional I want to get into one of our more difficult ones – hearing.

I say difficult because we take this one for granted more than others, and it proves to be one of the more neglected senses. So many people have hearing deficiencies, and our medical remedies only work so well. For those of you with hearing aids (and that is a lot of us), you know how expensive and limited these assistance devices are.

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Yet, this is really the way we expect God to engage with us the most; prayer, prayer, and more prayer. We count on God hearing us, and we (sometimes!) work hard to try to hear God. What is most helpful in this is that we don’t actually need ears to do this. This is especially good considering I’m not so sure God really relies on two physical ears to hear us. This is divine hearing, and it is at the heart of our life in faith.

One notable example of how hearing saved the people of God was in the Exodus when God heard the cries of the people (Exodus 3:7). Hearing is such a profoundly important way we share with God, and it is an incredibly vital way that we share with one another. In fact, beyond the basic needs of food, warmth, and shelter, this is the most important need we have as social people – the need to be heard. To be heard is to be valued; to be heard is to be recognized as a human being; to be heard is to know your needs are received and that you receive the needs of others; to be heard is to engage the world and the exchange of ideas; to be heard is to know you matter. To be truly heard is the first step to being known. It should be no wonder that social media has taken off as it has. Unfortunately, that kind of “hearing” one another is anemic and so often causes problems as we mishear one another.

This does not lessen the importance of hearing one another, however. It is absolutely vital to take the time to hear with our hearts, as we might imagine God hears us, with more than our ears. Maybe this is hearing past the ears and does not rely only on what is physically heard. Personally, I take pains to protect my ears and my hearing, but what is most important for me to hold is the need to be present, open, understanding, and loving in my hearing of others. We share in God this way, and this is how God wants us to hear each other in the Spirit of Christ (see Colossians 3:12-15).

Rev. Dr. Peter Smith is the pastor for Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at