My dog really impressed me the other day. We were out behind the house enjoying one of our daily morning walks when I heard a faint sound from way over on my neighbor’s property. I had to hear it twice to be sure, but it was the “putt, putt, putt, putt” sound quail make when they’re scurrying through the brush. Now understand that my dog is half Springer and half cattle dog mix (also known as an accident), so I never know how she’ll respond to birds. We had hunted pheasants several times last fall, but it had been months since we had been on birds of any kind, including the occasional quail on our property. So I looked over, expecting her to still be rooting around chasing mice or bugs or whatever it is she finds in the grass. Nope! She was in full hunt mode, flying up and down the trail, bouncing into the air, staring in the direction of the faint sound. She knew those birds were well beyond her limits, but there was no doubt they had her full attention!
I finished the walk thinking my dog might have more potential as a bird dog than I had realized. She hadn’t seen those quail for months, but the memory and instinct was right there when that sound hit her ears. She had heard thousands of bird calls since she last heard a quail, but she knew this was one that mattered. She was ready to go, and it was fun to watch!
You can probably guess where I’m headed with this. There are thousands of sounds and voices that we hear all day, every day. Lots of things trying to grab our time and attention. In the middle of that, God is also speaking to us, but it’s up to us to sort out His voice and hear it over everything else. It’s up to us to pay attention and hear what He has to say.
I want to take it one step farther, though. God allows us a choice as we listen. See, for my dog that choice is taken care of by instinct. Sparrows and chickadees are birds, but quail and pheasants are BIRDS! She knows which to ignore and which matter. For us, it’s not always so simple. Do I pass off this circumstance or that story as random chance, or do I look twice to see if God is in it? Anyone can recognize God’s voice if it comes packaged and labeled, but what about those subtle things where God is there if we choose to see Him? It’s human to be lazy and overlook those opportunities, but it’s a safe guess that God is waiting with good things for us far more often than we choose to recognize. It’s simply up to us to look for God, even in the mundane things that seem empty at first glance.
Keep your eyes and ears open for God’s voice and the cackle of the first pheasant of the fall coming out of the grass!