“Could you please say that again?”
“Let me turn the water off, then I can hear you.”
“I’m sorry, you’ll have to whisper that in my other ear, I didn’t hear a word you said.”
“Please turn down/up the volume...”
And on it goes as we who are hard-of-hearing try to function in a very auditory world.....
I was 13 years old (1986) when I was officially diagnosed with hearing loss in my right ear. It wasn’t bad enough to make a huge difference in my life at that time; the doctors merely told us that it would either get better or worse but most likely worse. One morning, around November of 2006, I woke up with the strangest feeling. I realized my right ear had the sound of white noise constantly in it and eventually, during the course of that day, realized my hearing in that ear was completely gone. After seeing several doctors, each with the same diagnosis, I became really depressed. Yep, it was gone. There is no treatment and no, there are no hearing aids to help. They said, “Just deal with it.” Yeah, okay, deal with it. How? I can’t hear people talking to me half the time, I can’t have the car windows open, I can’t sing in choir, I don’t know if someone is talking to me from behind, I can’t hear you if you whisper in that ear, I can’t hear the birds sing, rain falling, music playing in certain situations, etc.... yes, okay, deal with it. That’s it. There is nothing to be done.
So imagine to my surprise and delight when I began seeing a new audiologist and his first words to me after my hearing evaluation are, “There are some new hearing aids available I think would be perfect for you.” My surprised reaction asked him to repeat himself. In May 2011 I purchased and tried out my hearing aids for the very first time. I was so excited! After he put them in for me, he whispered in my right ear (my deaf ear) and told me my birth date and I sat in awe. I could really hear with these miraculous aids! So now... I can hear you. I can hear people behind me. I can hear in difficult situations better (sometimes it is still too loud for me). I can hear my husband speak to me while I drive in the car and he sits in the passenger seat. No more asking him to speak up or repeat himself! I can hear the water under the tires on rainy days, the rain falling outside, the birds singing and chirping and so much more! I can hear! As the slogan for my hearing aid company says, “Life is on!”
One of the most difficult parts of the Christian life is learning to hear God’s voice. Knowing when He speaking to us and guiding us. Even for the most “seasoned” Christian, hearing God’s voice can be difficult. That’s when the doubt, discouragement, disappointment, and often depression begin to set in. We can’t tell which way His voice is coming from and we can’t tell if God is speaking at all. We strain to hear whatever it is He is trying to tell us, but the TV is too loud, the water is running, the music is on, or you are simply in another room and all you hear is what sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown saying, “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah”. Is this what God sounds like to you? There are many of you out there who for one reason or another do not feel like you can be you. You feel defeated and depressed. No one can possibly understand how you feel or what you are going through. You feel invisible. You may want to be invisible. You feel like life is not worth living and God doesn’t hear you. Well my friend, it is time to find some spiritual hearing aids! It is time to turn life back on and find God. When we seek God and find Him, we find freedom. We find love. Communication with God is the key to hearing His voice. How is your communication with Him? Are you listening for His voice inside your heart, or are you turning a deaf ear to what He is telling you?
When Mark prays with me in a restaurant we hold hands and I cock my head to the side with my left ear toward him so I can hear his prayer and hear the amen at the end to know he is finished speaking. When was the last time you cocked your head toward the Lord and gave all of your attention to Him, straining to hear what He is telling you?
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:1-5 (NIV)
Dear Lord, we always ask You to hear us when we pray and ask You to listen to us. Please forgive us Lord for not listening to You and giving You our time and attention to hear Your still, small voice speaking to us. Give us ears to hear and open hearts so that the truth of Your words sink in and we know with clarity that it is You we are hearing.