Knowing the difference between which issues are physical in nature and which are spiritual is not always easy to discern. I try to be careful not to over-spiritualize everything because sometimes bad things that happen to me don’t emanate from the spirit world but rather, are bio-chemical or pathological in nature. I recently had something occur, though, that has caused me to pause and think a little more deeply about this subject.
The first blog of this New Year I declared that the word for my life in 2018 is the word “Listen” and that my theme verse is, “Be still and know that I am God.” I also shared how my mission is to listen better to people, to my inner voice, and to the quiet whisper of God. Interestingly enough, since that declaration I’ve had a pronounced and constant “noise” in my ears that reminds me of when I was a boy on the farm, sitting outside at night listening to the crickets. I’ve discovered there’s a medical term for this somewhat annoying malady; it’s called tinnitus.
For precaution’s sake I contacted my physician to see if I should be concerned, and his analysis was I probably should be checked by an audiologist. Hearing aids are not on my bucket list, so making an appointment isn’t a high priority. My wife Janna has indicated that the volume of the television is a few decibels higher these days, and I continue to ask her to repeat things so I can hear them more clearly the second time around. I’ve also noticed that when I’m talking on the phone, she closes the door of the room I’m in, since people in Stow are able to hear my conversation in West Akron.
Be assured I do have a medical issue that my dear wife believes is nerve damage due to running for years with music blaring in my ear canal. But more importantly, I believe that the noise in my ears also has spiritual implications. No, God isn’t making me go deaf, but His whisper to “listen” has become louder with this locust-like noise. My world is too noisy, and perhaps yours is as well. External sound is only part of the cacophony of messages vying for our attention, and when you compound that with the ever-present conversation we have going on in our heads, sometimes “to be still” is not easily done. I’ll readily admit I’m addicted to noise, and you may be as well.
Here’s a challenge for you. Don’t answer your phone or respond to text messages for 12 hours. Try “fasting” from all of the sources through which you receive electronic messages or music as well. Like fasting from food, there’s a withdrawal that is very real and is more life-controlling than any of us realize.
So, perhaps God is allowing the buzz inside my ears to block some of the noises outside my ears from getting through. Maybe the chirping is a reminder that there’s another world beyond this physical one that I need to consider.
Just a side note, I’m reading Bill Hybel’s book, The Power of a Whisper, and one chapter is titled “Whispers That Change the World.” He relates the way God shouted messages to him regarding two books that address the subject of racism and immigration. God whispered in my ear, “You need to read those two books.” So, I immediately purchased them for my Kindle. Now God is shouting at me through those same two books. Thank you God, and thank you Bill for speaking to me.
The sub-title of Bill’s book is “Hearing God, Having Guts to Respond.” My prayer is that “I will have ears to hear” but more importantly the courage to respond.
By the way, don’t yell at me when you talk to me, I CAN HEAR YOU!