He Speaks in the Silence
"Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened …" Isaiah 50:4b,5a (NLT)
I was 26 years old the day I sat in front of the doctor in stunned disbelief, his words barely registering with my reality.
Losing my hearing? I can’t be losing my hearing!
How does a young wife — a mother of little ones — go deaf?
The weeks and months of tests and treatment that followed confirmed the truth I’d tried so desperately to pray away. My hearing was going fast. And there was nothing anyone could do.
I begged God to heal me, to stop the progression of loss that would isolate me from the world of words. I needed to hear my children, to stay connected and close to my husband. How could I do that? How could I be who I was supposed to be without sound?
Please God, please! I want to hear! I have to hear!
I walked and prayed, rocked my baby and prayed, prayed with my husband, my friends. I asked everyone I knew to please, please pray!
All I heard was nothing. No hint that God had heard.
I stewed in sullen bitterness, appalled at a God who called Himself a God of love, yet, it seemed to me, silently refused to listen to my pleading.
Of course He could heal me, after all, He made my ears! So why wouldn’t He?
The day my husband gathered the leaders of our church to pray for healing, I barely said a word, lest all that scalding rage come spilling out. I sat still and silent, the thinnest veil of pretend plastered on my face.
And there, in my desperation, in the midst of my anger and doubt, is where I first heard God speak to me. Two words: It’s OK! Di, it’s OK. It’s OK!
Like a father firmly calming his terrified daughter lest she run away to her own hurt, His words washed over me again and again.
It’s OK … it’s OK … Diane! It’s OK …
And in that moment, it was. Instantly. All pretend fell away, and I was left raw and weeping, healed in a place I didn’t even know was broken. It was OK!
Strangely, beautifully, inexplicably OK!
I knew in a knowing that goes beyond words that God wouldn’t heal my ears. Instead, He was asking me to trust Him to take this thing — this awful, terrible hurtling into deafness — and make it OK.
Would I trust Him with my children? Could I trust Him to bring them close to His heart even when I couldn’t hear theirs?
And would I trust Him to somehow forge a way for me to hear and know my husband’s heart without words?
Could I, would I, trust my Father in the isolating loneliness of silence?
Since that exquisite first moment of hearing God, of accepting His words for me, of surrendering my will to Him, He has not stopped speaking into my silence. As today’s key verse reads,"The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened."
How could I have missed this in all those years of church and Bible study, of daily devotions and teaching? How could any of us miss His invitation to come and hear?
To hear His words just for us, for each of us?
That was 30 years ago. Thirty years of learning to listen to God. Of being awakened to the allure of His voice inviting me to lean in close. And of honing the skills of hearing God much like I have had to hone the skills of listening to the people I love without having ears that hear.
Father, I want to hear You, to know that it is Your voice calling me to come close. Your words bring life and hope, wisdom when I am weary, understanding when I’m confused. Will You teach me how to listen? To know and love Your voice? I ask that You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 27:8, "My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘LORD, I am coming.’" (NLT)
Revelation 3:20, "Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends." (NLT)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How have your worries and disappointments opened your ears to God’s invitation for you to come near and listen? When was the last time you heard God knocking?
What are some ways you might hone the skills of listening to God so that you hear Him nearer and clearer?
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