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Listen to the Heartbeat

If you laid your ear next to God’s chest, what might you hear in his heartbeat? Carla Foote draws us in close, to listen.


Listen to the Heartbeat

By Carla Foote


When I was a teenager, I could hear my dad's heartbeat if we were sitting quietly in the living room. Since we were both bookish introverts, we regularly sat quietly.


I could hear his heartbeat go click - click - click because he had a plastic heart valve.


It was so reassuring for me to hear his heartbeat. He had rheumatic fever as a child and had a heart murmur. When he was in his 40s and I was 13, he had his valve replaced. At the time, I didn’t realize how serious the surgery was. But after his surgery, I could hear his heartbeat even if I was sitting a few feet away.


Of course it was reassuring, because hearing his heartbeat meant that my dad was alive, that his heart was beating.


That valve kept him going into my sophomore year of college, when the valve failed and he needed a new valve, which gave him 6 more years of life. Technology had changed and I couldn't hear that heart valve beating.


There is an intimacy in hearing someone's heartbeat.


When I snuggle up with my husband and lay my head on his chest, I can hear his heartbeat.


I have to get close, get quiet, and listen.


As people of faith, we talk about listening to our Father - to God.


What exactly does it mean to listen to God? What are we listening for when we "listen to God" or "listen to the heartbeat of God"?


Often, we go right to the specific guidance of God - should I live in this neighborhood or that one? What should I do about this problem in my family? What kind of job should I pursue? When should I retire?


God certainly does care about the details of our lives, as a loving father, and he will give wisdom and guidance in those decisions although sometimes he seems silent.


But when I think about listening to God - I want to think bigger than just listening for myself and guidance for my life.


Listening to God means getting closer to his heart - so very close that we can hear his heartbeat.


What does God care about?

What does God weep over?

What does God get excited about?

What does God rejoice over?


I think listening to God's heart makes our hearts more tender towards the people he has created. People he loves, and people we may not even like.


Listening to God is hearing Jesus' command - to love God and to love our neighbor.


The challenge for me, and maybe for you, is to listen bigger to God.


Listen for his tender heart for the marginalized. His love for our neighbors. Listen for his love for people who reject him.


As we listen to the big story of God, and his heart for the world - we hear that God loves us, God came, God took the initiative.


Emmanuel, God with us. Let's listen to the big heart of God – for us, and for the whole world.

Carla Foote is the Really blog manager. She also writes and edits for other clients through Fine Print Editorial. When she isn't at her computer working, she enjoys walking and gardening. She serves on the board of Magazine Training International, equipping Christian communicators around the world to share the Good News in their own context.


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