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He who has ears, let him hear. Matthew 13:9

After the end of the first parable told in Matthew 13, Jesus said, “He who has ears, let him hear.” Jesus had just spoken to the people using a story about a man who went out to sow seeds. Of course, we all know that it really had another, more significant meaning than a man sowing seeds on different types of ground. The Bible is full of parables. Our own everyday lives, too, are full of parables. Often, we are so focused on the things happening to us that we forget to use our ears to hear what God is trying to teach us through those things. Several weeks ago, I experienced a parable in my life — a situation that God used to teach me so much more than what was going on.

On Sunday, my oldest son began to itch incessantly at church. Thinking it was a reaction to being at the farm all weekend during harvest, we gave him some allergy medicine and a nap. However, it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference and little red bumps appeared all over his body, mainly his hands. We realized that we were dealing with more than allergies. In the end, he was diagnosed with hand-foot-mouth disease. It just happened to be one of the worst cases our doctors had seen. I spent two almost sleepless nights feeding him ice (the sores inside his mouth hurt too badly to eat or drink much of anything else) and watching TV at 3:00 a.m. (it distracted him from the itching). After three days of what felt like misery, his younger brother developed the same symptoms. As I watched my boys suffer with this virus that just had to run its course, I prayed. Of course, I prayed for healing and comfort, but I also prayed that God would open my ears and let me hear what He was teaching me through this. This is what I heard.

First, you are so incredibly blessed to live in a place where the doctor can prescribe more powerful pain medicine so that your little boy doesn’t have to suffer as much. Mothers in some countries have to watch their children suffer and die because of the lack of basic medical needs. Second, God understands suffering. The helpless feeling you experienced while watching your son roll on the carpet because he itched so terribly or when he woke up crying in the night because his mouth hurt so bad, pales in comparison to God watching His son die on the cross. Finally, your children are far more important than your job. The lesson plans you worked on with your hurting son on your lap really aren’t that big of a deal. You’re not letting anyone down by staying home and caring for your own kids; the kids at school will survive without you; your kids at home need you.

So many times in life we get caught up by the plot, what’s happening, that we forget to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the Lord. His presence is everywhere and in every thing that happens. Our lives are parables written by His hand on a daily basis, but we often forget to listen. Remind us, Lord. Remind us to listen for You in each day.

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