Born with ears to hear

Ralph was driving fast. How fast that may have been, I’ll let you imagine. Just remember, as you fix this scene in your mind, that this early spring day is sometime around 1940 and the car is an old Model T and Ralph is hurtling (more or less) through the Maine woods on a road rutted, winding, and impassable in the winter.

Around a curve he barrels, and there in the middle of the road is a doe with a frail-looking little fawn, wobbling along on legs it has only been using for a few hours.

Ralph slammed on everything and skidded to a halt just as the doe, who stuck until the radiator was almost touching her, jumped clear. She had courage, poor thing. The fawn couldn’t jump. It was too little and weak and confused. It went down in the road. Ralph swarmed over the door, heart-broken. He’s often hard-boiled in his attitude toward his own kind, but when it comes to animals, he’s just a bowl of custard. Then he saw that he’d stopped well short of the fawn. It hadn’t been touched. It had simply obeyed a command from something that had been born within it—a command to play possum. It lay flat on its belly with its hind legs under its body in a crouch and its front legs stretched straight out, its head between them. The grass between the ruts [in the road] arched over it, and it lay perfectly supine, even when Ralph bent over it. Only its eyes moved, rolling back to follow his movements. Even when he ran his hand along its spine, to make sure it was all right, the only sign of life it gave was an uncontrollable shrugging of the loose skin on its back. It didn’t know what this was all about; after all, it had had only since about dawn to get used to this world; it had nothing to go by except that inner voice; but it was doing its poor little best to follow instructions.*

Jesus often said, “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.” I’m guessing that was a puzzling comment to many in the crowd following Him, since most of them probably did have two ears stuck on the sides of their heads. I’ve puzzled about His meaning myself.

But now I think we are like that weak and confused fawn in the road with a Model T bearing down on it. At our Spirit-birth, we were given ears to hear the voice of God. When He gave us this new life, He equipped us to hear the voice of our Maker, the voice of the one who knows exactly how He created us to live.

We may think sadnesses will crush us, and there is no hope or help. Disaster bears down on us, or evil tears our lives. Can we lie quietly enough to hear the voice of the One who watches over His children with a tender love beyond any love we can imagine?

We may be drawn by alluring glitter and sparkle of cheap toys offered everywhere we turn; we sometimes even pay an exorbitant price to play with them. Should we not be straining to hear, instead, the Voice that protects and molds us?

We may think we are groping in the dark, lost and uncertain and afraid. But we have been given ears to hear the Voice that says, “I will always be holding you in my hands and guiding your steps.”

I want to lie quietly, trusting. The fawn “didn’t know what this was all about” and had “nothing to go by except that inner voice.” We’re assaulted by many voices whispering, screaming, lying, luring, promising, and promoting. But only one Voice leads us to life, and we were born with ears to hear the One who does know what this is all about. Oh! I want to learn to be as obedient as that fawn.

* from We Took to the Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich

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