I have a passion for children’s books. A highlight of my day was reading to my own children before they went to bed. Introducing them to unique characters, rhyme, and storylines that piqued their imaginations.
One of my new favorites is “The Rabbit Listened”, by Cori Doerrfeld. A young boy experiences the loss of something he’d been creating and the accompanying grief. Several animals speak into his pain, each trying to help him deal with his emotions in a way that reflects their character.
Like having friends who want to fix you, who always know what’s best for you.
The bear wants to get angry; the ostrich wants to hide and pretend nothing bad happened.
The little boy doesn’t want to have anything to do with the animals.
A rabbit comes alongside the boy and just sits. He doesn’t say a word; he moves in closer and listens.
The boy feels the freedom to talk. His emotions pour out, and he actually does experience some of the emotions the other animals tried to help him with.
We all need to be listened to. One of our greatest requirements as people is to be heard, to know that what we have to say is significant enough for others to consider it.
Pausing to really listen isn’t easy in a hurry-up society where we’re waiting for or commenting on the next greatest thing or the next worst idea. We’re freer with our comments and judgments than we are with the willingness to hear people out.
I understand people not agreeing with everything I have to say. One of the gifts we give each other is our uniqueness, that we’re not the same and don’t have the same opinions or thoughts.
Sometimes I feel too much for others–it’s what I think because no one wants to hear me out.
It’s easier to shut out people than compassionately listen to what they have to say,
Jesus, in His last days of life, wasn’t given the respect of being heard by the people. All that He had done for others was ignored as He was arrested, brought before Pilate, the Roman governor. He was accused of leading a revolt because of the ideas He taught, lessons of grace and forgiveness.
He chose not to defend Himself. The crowds called for His crucifixion, even though Pilate could find no guilt in Him. Pilate decided to flog Him and release Him.
The crowd wouldn’t have it.
“But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die AS THEY DEMANDED.” Luke 23:23-24
Jesus spent His earthly life listening to hurting people. He came alongside them, healing, forgiving, and comforting those in need. He completed His work by going to the cross, crucified between two thieves. When one scoffed and taunted Him to save Himself and them, the other supported Jesus, saying He’d done nothing deserving of death. He asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, and Jesus replied,
“I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 24:43
Jesus, like the rabbit, always listened. He always hears the cries of those who need Him and is always ready to help when asked.
Because He listens.
Do you want to be heard?