On our recent trip to Arizona, we stepped outside the first morning to hear a loud buzzing sound, at first thinking it was a power line, but soon realizing the sound was coming from the trees—Tree Crickets. The crickets show up in the monsoon season. I’m sure one of the locals will tell us we’ll get used to them. Our home in California is on the railroad tracks. When we bought it, people said, “You’ll get use to the noise.” But whoever said that never lived near train tracks.
I wrote a post a few years ago, “You May be Speaking, but I'm Not Listening!” in which I said we had to learn NOT to pay attention to the trains. There are always going to be things we’d rather not hear—airplanes, street traffic. But we have the ability to block them out. Unfortunately, we can also block the voice of God. Jesus said such people have “hardened ears.” It occurs to me that with increasing suffering in our world, we will be tempted to steel ourselves against it—hardening our ears (and hearts).
In speaking of the beatitude to show mercy (Matt. 5:7), John Calvin explained, “We must patiently bear our own afflictions, but we must also bear the afflictions of our neighbor, assuming their identity, as it were, so as to be deeply touched by their suffering and moved by love to mourn with them. We must weep with those who weep.” Let us pray we won't become hard of hearing the sounds of the suffering of others. Bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2).