Monday, June 14, 2010

Listening To God Is Not Always A Polite Experience

A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. - Acts 16:14


This is a conversion story worthy of transcription. When I read the story of a woman in the bible, it makes me stop. While men were the primary actors in the unveiling of Christ’s story on earth, there were these women who express the intent of the gospel, highlighted amongst them. In most biblical stories, we see the heart of women in action rather than words. Inspiring.

Lydia was a worshiper. Yesterday, the pastor was talking about the story of Joseph. He came to the point, in the story, where Joseph has found his brothers tending the flock. Joseph was prepared to write up his behavioral analysis and return to Jacob, but as his brothers see him coming they plot to kill him. The pastor asked us, “What do people say when they see you coming?”

They said that Lydia was a worshiper.

She was also a purple cloth dealer. In these few verses, Lydia is identified in many roles, and in verse 15 we see her act of obedience as one who was baptized. Something happened in the middle, though. The Lord opened her heart to listen, eagerly.

Bare with me while I dust off my Greek books from seminary. The word eagerly is not actually in this text. Eagerly expresses the intensity of the word ‘opened’. Here, ‘opened’ is the same word used when a firstborn opens the womb. It is not a lightbulb going off, or a “Hmm, I’ve been wondering about that.” It is a violent crack in what was formerly understood, pushing through disrespectfully. It stops at nothing but complete transformation.

God opened something in Lydia that had been closed. She never even knew that it existed. She saw what she could not see before. She heard words that were completely understood for the first time. One moment she was a worshiper, and the next she was a listener.

The Lord opened her heart. To listen. He opened a soul to create understanding and desire to hear His word. That is what God does.

I would argue that this process does not stop. It seems that I move from one level of understanding to something completely new, as He bursts forth through my heart. He opens what was closed before and I am left on my knees, waiting to hear his voice. I have begun to ask for this in my prayer time.

This process is not polite. It was not for Lydia and it will not be for us. It is not safe. It is not controllable. It is what happens when we listen to the Father.

Blessings, as you listen to the Father, today.


  1. Oh, wow. That is amazing! I love getting the implications of the words - they give the words themselves an entirely new meaning! I think most of us would rather be in worship mode than listening. Worshiping what we think we understand is a whole lot more comfortable than learning that we don't actually understand much! You're right; very impolite, indeed... :D

  2. Food for thought. He opened her heart to listen. He opened what was closed until it was listen. To hear. I can only imagine what we are preparing for as we wait to hear from Him. It excited me and astounds me. Oh the things He does for us. Because He loves us.

  3. Wow! Powerful thoughts today! I want God to open my heart in new and powerful ways. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. Oh man, this is just awesome! I don't even know what else to say yet...I will be thinking about this all stinking week!

  5. always, dear one, you have a beautiful way with words. You nailed it - so often I find that God opens something in me that I had never even considered or even knew about in the foggiest.

    You continue to be on my heart and I continue to pray for your peace and healing. Love to you!


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