Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Spiritually Deaf

"Jonah" "Jonah?" "Jonah!"

They say things come in threes. It seems to be the case in our home. After Abigail's knee injury and Caleb's appendicitis, we sort of expected that something would happen to Jonah. We never expected him to go deaf, though. He mentioned to his teacher that he couldn't hear another student giving her book report. Mrs. Diehl sent him to see the school nurse where he subsequently flunked his hearing test.

The good news is the condition is only temporary. Our family physician looked him over and said "His ears are full of fluid. It makes his eardrums really tight, so he can't hear." Apparently when our ears are full, it renders us deaf.

I've been spiritually deaf before.

My ears have been so full of noise that I couldn't hear God. Sometimes it is the praise of people that keeps me from hearing the God who refuses to shout over my pride. Sometimes my own self-pity drowns out God's soothing sound. Other times it is the din of sin. Still others it is Wall Street-esque busyness that pushes God aside so I can't hear Him. I even call this busyness "ministry" at times to justify the cacophony, but it is godless nonetheless.

Sometimes the louder-than-God voice I hear in my ears is my own. Barbara Brown Taylor writes,
Sometimes I think we do all the talking because we are afraid God won't. Or, conversely, that God will. Either way, staying preoccupied with our own world seems a safer bet than opening ourselves up either to God's silence or God's speech, both of which have the power to undo us.
The solution is to get rid of the noise. For Jonah, that requires a round of antibiotics. The drugs, it is hoped, will kill whatever is causing the inflammation and drainage. If that doesn't work, he may have to have a "myringotomy." That's where small "tubes" are placed in his ears to depressurize them.

I wonder if there is a spiritual equivalent to a myringotomy? Something to clear the clutter from my soul. I suspect there is. I fear it is called "silence."


stiverdomeeast@yahoo.com said...

Frank - great point about silence.

Have you ever heard of NOOMA? Check out 005 Noise.



Frank Weller said...

I love the NOOMA series! We used it in our small group.

Anonymous said...


linda b said...

I think the spiritual equivalent is PRAYER. That is where you OPEN up to the Lord, DRAIN out all your troubles, and can then HEAR his response unfold in your life. Old surgery nurse here, I know what a myringotomy is. Hope all went well with your son. :)