Three years ago I was sitting in a silent retreat with 11 other people from all over the state of WA. As I looked around at the participants, I was painfully aware that I was one of two men. I wondered ”where are all the men; why don’t guys come to these kind of things?” I went from a place of wonder to a place of frustration rather quickly, and from there to a place of grumbling and complaining about the lack of spiritual awareness that my gender was exhibiting by not being present at formational events such as this! So here I was being critical, judgmental, and not far from becoming cynical! Then, as God has a way of doing, He reminded me of the scripture that we had been given for meditation – Isaiah 55. In the third verse these words began ringing in my ears. “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life” Is 55:3a (NLT). All of a sudden I started to see a connection between my grumbling and God’s word. In effect, it was like He was saying instead of looking at the problem, how about being part of the solution, and with that came the idea of Ears Wide Open (EWO). Most guys are not going to sign up for a silent retreat when they know they will be in the minority. But given a chance to be with other men who are seeking a closer relationship with God while doing something adventurous and a little out of our comfort zone, well that might just be another thing. The thought of going out into wilderness areas and literally ”putting ourselves in God’s way ” is kind of appealing. You don’t go into the wilderness or the back country with your earbuds in your ears do you! (I wouldn’t recommend it here in Montana.) No, you go into the wilderness with your “ears wide open” paying attention to every sound, the running creeks, the birds chirping, twigs snapping, bugs crawling, and maybe, just maybe you might hear the deep mysterious tones of the creatures whose territory we are now entering, and the God who created it all!
What better place to engage with God. What better place to find a quiet place and ponder Gods unfathomable grace, goodness, and mercy. What better place to be reminded of our “smallness” and His GREATNESS. What better place to slow down and pay attention to what He is saying to us, inviting us to stop fighting the frenetic pitch and pace of our run-ragged lives! He longs to communicate with us; He is speaking ALL the time. But are we listening? Are our ears wide open?