I’ve been thinking just recently about some parallels between hearing physically and hearing spiritually. . .

When you’re deaf, every day is a battle to hear and understand what is going on. But that’s not all – there’s also the constant awareness that those around who can hear normally often just don’t understand what being deaf means.

I don’t know about you, but one thing that really ‘gets’ me is when someone says in a kind of smug and certain-they-are-right-way, ‘If only you’d listen a bit harder and use your common sense you’d know what we are talking about!’

Really?

Is that all it takes when some alien cause has permanently damaged your hearing or your brain’s ability to understand?

You just need to listen harder and use your common sense?

Well, do you fancy stepping into my shoes?

Similar thoughts may go through my mind innumerable times every week, as sometimes it just seems so hard to explain that comprehending life when you are deaf is far more than just a matter of ‘listening harder’ and ‘using your common sense.’

My ears are damaged, my brain is damaged. No matter how much I listen or follow my natural wisdom (common sense), everything I hear still sounds like a totally jarring and distorted radio station and my brain hasn’t got the ability to make the necessary connections between one bit of distorted sound and another to understand a conversation!

Yet, despite my frustration, there is an element of truth too because although listening harder and using my common sense won’t get me any nearer to discovering what was said, they will cause me to actively focus my everything on gaining understanding. I watch the person’s face searching for clues; I do a mental jigsaw trying to connect together the odd bits of sound I’ve heard. I ask questions; I stop my activities and ask them to stop theirs in the hope there will be a breakthrough. But if none of that works, I offer my notebook and pen in the hope they can write what is being said.

I am curious; I am frustrated; I am determined.

And eventually I get understanding.

Maybe not in full;

In fact, hardly ever in full.

But at least something that enables me to take a little step from being where I am now to where that person is now in what they are trying to tell me.

And suddenly, I remember a phrase that Jesus sometimes used: ‘He who has ears, let him hear.’ Matthew 11:15.

I realise with these words that Jesus is doing exactly the same as my hapless friends – telling them to use their ears and to think.

‘Listen harder

Use your common sense;

Look at what’s happening around you

Ask questions; See, think

Notice, reflect

Listen for God’s voice;

Have revelation of God’s heart.

It may frustrate you and me when people imply that we can step out of the restrictions of our hearing loss just by listening harder.

But will we dare to take that step with our inner hearing to hear the voice of God?

In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul teaches us that we have the mind of Christ and his very own Spirit because he has given us all we need to hear him and understand his heart.

Just like most of us have ears (even if they don’t work); we’ve all been given spiritual hearing through the Spirit and the mind of Christ.

But we have to learn to listen – hard.

We need to see what’s around us and reflect.

We need to ask questions and listen for the answer – from God;

We need to step through our frustration and be ready to take hold of a new revelation.

It’s a most incredible thing that as hearing impaired people, our very effort and determination to understand those around us, can give us a head start in learning to be still and persistent enough to hear the voice of our God.

He longs to speak to you, to guide you, to counsel you, to show you amazing things if we will just have ‘ears to hear.’ The other day when my mug that has the word ‘Joy’ emblazoned on its side, suddenly slipped out of my hand. I thought it would smash but amazingly it didn’t.  Then God spoke into my heart, ‘hold tightly to your joy!’

Who would think the Lord would speak through a nearly broken mug? But he did and he does. Everything in our every day lives or in the beauty of creation, or in the comfort and counsel of His Word can be a channel for his voice if we just have ‘ears to hear.’

Be still today and know he is God.

Allow him to warm your heart and open your understanding.

Have your notebook and pen ready to jot down down fleeting impressions or thoughts that may come to you; just as you may need it ready to help you know what someone is saying.

Receive revelation about your loving Heavenly Father; See from Heaven’s perspective and discover the joy of ‘being ‘in the know’ with what is going on with your God.