Hearing For The First Time

“Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him.”

Mark 7:32

Not too long ago I watched a YouTube video of a young mother who was given the opportunity to hear for the first time the voices of her husband, children, and parents. I am not sure of the whole process, but she was hooked to a computer through the extensions of wires that were attached to implants near her ears. As the technician adjusted the sound levels and clarity, this young mother’s expressions changed as those around her talk to her. As she listened the soundwaves at first were sensed through a series of vibrations, then as more adjustment came so did the distinct voices of the technician, her father, husband and her children. To say the least, it was quite an emotional experience as she heard sound for the very first time. And although she “heard”, she could not understand what was being said to her without the aid of signing. But in time, with much verbal reiteration, sounds and sense would come together and she would not be held captive to only one form of communication.

When you hear of stories like this one, it should fill us with a sense of thankfulness for what we normally take for granted. As I get older I know that I have lost some hearing over the years. That is to be expected. But to spend a life time not hearing my favorite sounds, the voices of loved ones, music, the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, sounds of woodland notes and chords, is difficult to imagine.

I have often wondered why Jesus chose to do the miracles He did. Yet, as I read Mark 7:31-37, I was led to believe that this healing was a reminder to us exactly what knowing Jesus is all about. As we navigate this world we live in, we do it by the use of our senses. We all understand that our senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch are all part how the body receives sensory information. In the physical world this is how we do life. If I smell smoke in the house, I am going to look for its source. If the music is too loud, my wife will turn it down. If the food doesn’t taste good and it is your wife’s cooking….keep eating 😊. This is life, this is how we do life and God created us with these beautiful senses to be enjoyed and to honor Him with them.

HEARING GOD—But what about our ability to hear God? Of course, this predisposes that God speaks to us so that we can hear Him. How does God speak to us? The obvious revelation is through His written Word—The Bible. I have no doubt heard God’s voice through His creation—we call that general revelation. I hear the wind blowing through the trees on a hiking trail, the chirp of a bird, the splash of a fish, they all remind me who created them—beckoning me to give glory to our Maker Creator.

But most important, I need to specifically hear God’s voice through His written Word. And even though I hear God today as I read and study the Bible, I do remember when I was completely deaf in hearing His voice. I remember that day when there was a huge contrast between hearing God and having no sense of His voice. It was as if He was not present, that He didn’t exist. But as the evangelistic message came to life in my head and heart, like the technician adjusting the sound, the Holy Spirit began to use the written Word of God to speak to me so that I could hear God for the first time.

SOMETIMES OUR HEARING GOD NEEDS AN ADJUSTMENT—The best time I hear God is when He speaks to me as His friend. This was Moses experience—“The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (Exodus 33:11) Okay, not exactly. I have never had a face to face experience with God, and I am pretty sure when I do, it will not be this side of Heaven.

But I do cherish the moments when hearing God is with the clarity of two friends getting past all the complimentary conversation, all the politeness of proper decorum, and moves into the zone of meaningful conversation. This type of conversation is difficult for me to describe but it is as if God reaches down from Heaven and touches my ears so that I can hear Him clearly for the first time… but not every time.

That is when my hearing needs to be adjusted by God. Yet as I think on these things, I realize the reason I don’t always hear God clearly is because I am not listening with the right attitude. In his book, “Hearing God” Dallas Willard writes, “Spiritual people are not those who engage in certain spiritual practices; they are those who draw their life from a conversational relationship with God.” That thought gave me pause for concern. Too often I treat my time in the Bible as mere academics. I put together Bible studies, sermons, and devotionals with my head and formal education and wonder why I feel so empty spiritual even though I “got the job done.” The quick answer is; I treat God like a cadaver that is to be dissected rather than the close Friend He is supposed to be.  We know that type of friendship, we just don’t want to see them leave. We want to sit there all day talking about old times and what we would like to do in the future. He or she is the one who we go to for advice. And when your time is over with them, you know the feeling—you look up at the clock and you say to your dear friend, “I can’t believe what time it is. Where did the morning go?” This is what I believe Dallas Willard is talking about.

Maybe your ability to hear God is just right—You have Him dialed in with all the clarity you would have for a friend because that is exactly what you are—His friend. Or maybe you are a little bit like me, your facetime with God is…well… in need of a little adjustment. If what I know about God is already correct, I am sure there is time to adjust our hearing, even today. Perhaps, in the process we will hear God again like it was the first time.

This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN wishing you Joy in Jesus!