How I wish my people would listen to me!–Psalm 81:17

As the writer of the psalm shifts from praise to lament we are caught off guard. I think we’d be more comfortable if the lament appeared to come from the psalmist but here the writer dares to suggest that the lament is from God. The writer uses desperate words–words haunted by sadness. In my mind I see a grieving parent wrestling with a child’s choice.

One of the hardest things I had to do as a parent was to allow my children to suffer the consequences of a poor choice. They look at you with wild disbelieving eyes, tears streaming down their faces. Pinched in anguish at the perceived betrayal and blotchy from brokenhearted tears, they beg you to save them. Your heart breaks as you stand firm. Children must learn that choices bring consequences.

Israel’s choices brought harsh consequences. Time after time Israel chose poorly and reaped the consequences. If only they had chosen wisely. If only they had listened.

While it is easy to vilify Israel I wonder sometimes about my own choices. I like to think every choice I make is profound and righteous, but if I am completely honest, sometimes I choose selfishly. I make a choice and then sit bewildered, tears streaming down my face wondering what went wrong as I beg God to save me. If only I had chosen wisely. If only I had listened.

I have friends who have profound and rich theological reasons for their spiritual disciplines. I simply want to listen. I want to hear God’s plans, God’s call, God’s desire. I want to hear God’s whispers and choose wisely.

May today be a day of intentional stillness as I seek to not just hear God’s voice, but to listen.

Amen and amen.

Katrina Stipe Brooks is a campus pastor at Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Virginia, and youth pastor at Madison Heights Baptist Church, Madison Heights Virginia. A mother of two incredible young adults and spouse of a Baptist General Association of Virginia field strategist and Sunday School specialist, Katrina is senior pastor of InFaith Community, a multi-cultural church that meets on the Lynchburg College campus. One day she will publish all the stories she has to tell, but right now she has to complete the registration process for her first semester as a D.Min. student at McAfee School of Theology.