Hearing problem turns into a blessing

I debated about sharing this with you because it’s personal. I know some of you think I share way too much of my personal life, especially about my sons, my wife and other people I have mentioned by name over the years. But I also know most of my readers are probably within a 10-year range of my age. Some of you will nod your heads and say, “Uhhhh, that’s so right” and others will say, “Help him, Lord Jesus!”

As you get older, your body declines, limb by limb and organ by organ. As the years go by, this falling-apart escalates, and you’ll find yourself on a first-name basis with a dozen doctors, with as many prescription bottles looking at you each morning. I’m in the beginning stages of that season, but no matter how hard I fight it, I know in the end, it will win.

I don’t feel my age, but this decline started with orthotics for my shoes, and I have worn them for many years now. Then came the eyeglasses, and I moved from single to bi- and on to tri-focal lenses. About four years ago, I noticed I wasn’t hearing quite as well as I used to. My family recognized the problem long before I did. I just told them to quit mumbling and whispering behind my back. I then begin to have a hard time hearing during phone calls. I found myself talking over people, so I went to have my hearing checked. The experts said I needed hearing aids, but I decided to put off getting them for as long as I could.

Lately, I noticed even more people were mumbling and whispering, so I decided to have my hearing checked again. This time, they discovered an even more significant hearing loss in my left ear, and the right one was only good for keeping my glasses on.

The kind audiology people fitted me for a set of hearing aids, and it seemed as though the world was shouting at me. It was weird and fun all at once. I was walking around one of those super-marts, and I could hear a lady talking on a phone about three aisles over. My staff said I was speaking at a much lower volume, and I no longer shouted at people on the phone. I wore the hearing aids for a few days and was amazed that my neighbors weren’t calling anymore to tell me to turn the television down.

In my line of work, hearing is essential. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many conversations I have every day. From hurting families to students trying to find direction to the missionaries I serve alongside, I depend on my hearing. So I went back to the store to see about paying for the hearing aids since neither my insurance nor Medicare pays for them. I knew they were expensive, but when I learned the price, I had to walk away.

But yesterday, I got a call from the same store, asking if I could please come back in. One of their patients got a new pair of hearing aids and wore them only a couple of times before passing away. His widow returned them to the store, not looking for a refund but asking them to find someone to bless.  I got to the store, and they had already programmed the hearing aids for me.

I couldn’t believe that someone in the midst of grieving over losing a life mate would want to bless someone else. I don’t know who this person is, but I appreciate her generous heart. And as I am typing this, I am listening to ever-so-soft music and praising God. And guess what? I no longer have to shout at you.

The Bible says a lot about hearing. In Revelation 3:20, we read: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” And Mark 4:9 tells us, “Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

I remember telling my sons to clean up their rooms, and about two minutes later, they would come waltzing back out. “Are your rooms clean?” I would ask, and they both would say yes. But when I inspected said “clean” rooms, I discovered they had merely shoved their belongings under the beds and into the closets. They heard me, but they didn’t hear me.

I might be hearing sounds better these days, but I am really hearing what Jesus said? Lord, with or without hearing aids, let me have ears to hear straight from You.