"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
This has been a repeating phrase in Mass during the Alleluia. It got me thinking. When we first reflect on it, we ask, why would we ever harden our hearts? We want to hear the voice of God! We seek His voice and long to have clarity in the direction He is calling us. So why are we being told that if we hear His voice, not to harden our hearts?
It's because God's voice is always the voice of truth. And sometimes we don't like hearing the truth.
It happened just over the weekend. While in mental prayer, I shared with God some frustrations I'd been having and about being let down by Him (seemingly) in a particular circumstance. He answered me, "You are frustrated and upset because your expectations weren't met." At that I was done praying for the moment. I didn't want to face the truth. I didn't want to accept that my disappointment was caused by my unreasonable expectations (even though I realized it was true). So yes, we can harden our hearts when we hear His voice.
Maybe that's why we don't like to pray sometimes. Because we know we'll encounter the truth and the truth changes us. The truth invites us to live differently than we had been. The truth causes to see ourselves as we really are: sinners - weak, broken human beings. We forget that God already knows that. He knows everything about us. And more importantly, that He loves us (even in our weakness and littleness). It can be humbling to encounter the truth. And sometimes we don't want to be humble!
So just when we think God's not speaking to us, maybe it's because we're not listening. God is always speaking to us. Scripture tells us, "And your ears shall hear a word behind you: 'This is the way; walk in it,' when you would turn to the right or the left." (Isaiah 30:21) God speaks to us more often then we realize!
As we learn to listen to His voice, may we have a spirit of humility to keep our hearts open and obedience to His word.