This is part three in a series about my friend and fellow pilgrim, Tom. In the previous columns, Tom shared his insights about humility and patience. It amazes me to observe Tom, though paralyzed from Lou Gehrig’s disease, still in pursuit of God and His will. Tom is the incarnation of the Apostle Paul’s words, “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day...” (2 Corinthians 4:8-18).
I visited Tom one day, and as usual, I asked him if God was showing him anything new and Tom replied, “He’s shown me I have a long way to go and a short time to get there. He’s been showing me that I need to be a better listener. I feel convicted about it.” He commented on the moderator of a Christian television talk show, about what a “good listener” the moderator was. Tom explained, “His guest talked about Jerusalem being the ‘fig tree’ referred to in Bible prophesies. The moderator asked him to show him where in the Bible that it specifically says so. He never interrupted the fellow except to tie what he said to the Bible or to clarify something.” Tom concluded, “There aren’t very many good listeners. Most people are thinking about what they’re going to say next instead of really listening to you.”