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A God Who Listens and a God Who Speaks

In his autobiographical novel, Everything Sad is Untrue, Daniel Nayeri describes fleeing from Iran as a boy to escape persecution for his Christian faith. At one point, he asks the reader a question:

Would you rather have a God who listens or a god who speaks? Be careful of the answer … There are gods all over the world who just want you to express yourself. At their worst, the people who want a god who listens are self-centered. They just want to live in the land of “do as you please.” And the ones who want a god who speaks are cruel. They just want law and justice to crush everything …. Love is empty without justice. Justice is cruel without love. Oh, and in case it wasn’t obvious the answer is both. God should be both.

Time and again, Jesus proves to be a God who listens. People seek him out by the thousands—but he never refuses a conversation. The only time Jesus ever silences anyone, saying, quite literally, “Be quiet!” it’s a demon (Luke 4:35). Other than that, he’s willing to give anyone the time of day. Blind Bartimaeus shouts to him on a crowded road. While others scold him to keep quiet, Jesus beckons him over and gives Bartimaeus the floor. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asks …. Whatever the blind man had to say, Jesus was all ears.

He’s not just a sounding board, though. Jesus has something to say. Words are the very tools Jesus uses to bring forth his plans …. When his friend is dead and lying in his tomb and Jesus says, “Lazarus, come out!” and the dead man comes out …. In other words, when Jesus speaks things happen.

Jesus is a God who listens and a God who speaks, a God who simply enjoys talking with people. He doesn’t mind being inconvenienced. He’s willing to seek out those who differ with him …. because he is a God who knows, a God to whom all hearts are open and no secrets hid.

The fact that Jesus is the kind of God who wants to be in a personal relationship with us is remarkable compared to the false gods who either speak from on high or listen to us with blank stares .… The Christian faith reveals that we have more than just words, but the Word made flesh.

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