After days of me not feeling well, my wife asked me to visit the ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) physician. My ears had been plugged up causing some dizziness. After the initial doctor’s exam, I received a full hearing test performed by an audiologist. This included the pure tone audiometric test in a sound booth, and the HINT which tests a persons’ ability to hear speech in quiet and in noise. I failed!
Turns out, I had a deep inner ear infection that had temporarily impacted the hearing in both ears, but especially the left ear. When they showed me the audiogram, I almost cried. But the good doctor assured me that with the treatment he prescribed, I should soon recover. It was comforting news for a guy that was sick.
But while I sat in that sound booth, I had time to think, pray, and listen. Life has been moving very fast. During the last three years, my daily life patterns have been upended. Since starting my web-based ministry, I am often making calls to hospitals, nursing homes, and local businesses. Sometimes I am coordinating a funeral, or leading a pre-marriage counseling session. Further, I have increased my civic participation with county and city groups. Networking someplace today and serving as a resource on a committee tomorrow. It’s busy.
But the confines of that sound proof room brought me to a stop. What if I lose my hearing? What if they discover a “surprise” that suddenly changes my life forever? What if I don’t recover? What if?
With my huge earphones on, I started to hear strange beats of different frequencies. I was supposed to say “yes” when I hear a sound. Seems easy until you start to imagine sounds, too. First the right ear, then the left. Back and forth until you could no longer anticipate where or what the next tone may be.
Then, things got more complicated. In order to test my hearing in various conditions, other sounds were added to the beats of frequencies. Wind sounds and crowd noise muffled the tones I was trying to hear. I realized that this was on me. I couldn’t blame someone else or cheat the system. The audiologist was calling the signals, I must strain my ears to listen. It was my assignment.
Which leads me to this: it is not uncommon for God to give us a spiritual hearing test. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to My voice.” (John 10:27 NIV) The question is, are you listening to the voice of Jesus? In fact, can you even distinguish between the His voice and your own voice? Most of know when the enemy is planting evil thoughts in our minds. Then we have a choice to make. But too often, we stumble in knowing if this is just my idea, or is God in it?
God tested Samuel’s hearing as a youth (1 Samuel 3). Saul, later Paul, heard the call of God as a seasoned adult (Acts 9). Our world is a better place because they identified God’s voice, listened to His instruction, and responded correctly.
Could it be that the Divine Audiologist is testing you today. Are you listening? Can you distinguish His voice above the noise and distraction of the world? Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24 NIV). Please listen, it is your assignment.