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Food for the Soul

Food for the Soul, devotionals to help you in your busy life, written by NEWIM board members and staff. 

Listening Ears

Luann Budd

 "For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualitiesHis eternal power and divine naturehave been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse." Romans 1

Maltbie Babcock, like many of us, would find that when he had had his fill of the problems and pettiness of ministry, he'd need a break. He'd walk past the church office and say to his assistant, "I'm going to be about my Father's world." His church was situated on a hill overlooking a valley, so he'd go outback to listen to the Lord.  

*   *   *

One January a storm came down from Alaska and cut across the San Francisco Bay making the morning bitterly cold, at least by California's standards. So I walked quickly, trying to hide inside the protection of my coat. I usually enjoy my early morning walks across campus, but this morning I was too cold.

There is a tree along my route, a favorite tree, easily a hundred feet tall and over a century old. As I walk to my office, the sidewalk turns so that I walk toward this tree for several minutes. Each morning as I approach my gnarled old friend, it speaks to me of its Maker. This morning, I was shocked to see that my tree had been disrobed, not one leaf was left on its silvery branches, yet still it stood, as always, though strangely bare and frosty. I reflected that Jesus, too, had been disrobed of His majesty, yet He continued to stand immovable against evil's bitter blast. Abandoned. Shamed. He disrobed Himself of omnipotence and glory and chose to hang on that other tree for me. I felt the chill of the wind and wondered what it would be like to stay outside all day, exposed. Jesus stayed six hours, exposed.

Lord, may we, too, stand immovableeven if stripped bear and beaten, even if bitterly cold and betrayed, even if clamored after and successful. We want to be like you, immovable, obedient, unshaken by storms or praise.

Pastor Babcock died at the age of 42, but before he died he wrote the words to a favorite hymn about how the Lord spoke to him on that hill behind his church. "This is my Father's worldThe birds their carols raiseThe morning light, the lily whiteDeclare their Maker's praise. This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere." As we go about our full days, whether stressed by the ministry or perplexed by the world, may we hear His voice and listen as He speak to us, everywhere.