It is a fairly common question especially when we are struggling with something in our lives. “Is God speaking to me? If He is, why can’t I understand? Why can’t this struggle end? Why can’t I change?” In our struggle, when we can’t seem to hear God, we presume the answer to these questions is, “No. God is not speaking, He isn’t even listening to me.” There is nothing that could be further from the truth.
In the Gospel lesson for today we hear the Parable of the Sower. One of my favorite parts of this parable is that Jesus Christ actually explains it to us. There is no confusion about what the parable means. The Sower is God and Seed is the word of God, and our hearts are either the path, the rocks, the thorns, or the fertile soil. Our Lord includes the phrase, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8.8) We can’t hear God speaking if we don’t have ears.
So, we have heard the parable and we have heard our Lord explain it to us. The only thing remaining is for us to figure out who we are in the parable. Are we the path, the rocks, the thorns, or the fertile soil. Either way, God is speaking to us. We just have to figure out who we are to understand what the parable means for us. When God sends out His Word, He sends it out for everyone whether or not they are ready to hear.
For some of us who are the path, the reason we can’t hear His Word is because the demons keep taking it away before it can take root. If that is the case, we need to work our hearts to ‘soften the soil’ so the seed has a fighting chance to germinate. Eventually, our hearts will be prepared to hear the Word of God. For some of us who are the rocks and thorns, the reason we can’t hear is because our hearts are filled with temptation and sin, and the Word of God gets choked out before it bears fruit in our lives. Even though we can’t hear right now, doesn’t mean God isn’t speaking to us. He is speaking to us even if our hearts can’t hear Him. He loves us so much that He doesn’t just speak to us, He calls to us hoping we will turn our hearts and listen, if even for a moment to understand our heart needs work.
Eventually, once we understand who we are in the parable, we will work our hearts and our ears will hear what God is speaking. WE have the power to soften our hearts, to break up the rocks, and remove the thorns so that we can hear God speaking, but it requires work and patience and not a little bit of humility. Nobody wants to admit they are anything other than rich fertile soil, but once we can admit to who we are then, and only then, can the Word of God take root in our hearts to “yield a crop a hundredfold.” (Luke 8.8)
Here’s the best part of the story. God IS speaking to us, and if we have ears to hear that our hearts need work before the parable can bear fruit, then we have already received a blessing from God.