Deaf Amidst the Din

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Isaiah 35:5 (NIV)

This past weekend was the close of our local community theatre’s holiday show. After the final performance on Saturday afternoon the entire cast and crew worked diligently to strike the set, clean up the stage and dressing rooms, put away all the props, and return the costumes to the costume shop. Then it was time for the requisite cast party and celebration.

Between cast, crew and family there were over sixty people gathered in our friend’s home for the cast party. As a hearing impaired person this can be a challenge. Even with hearing aids, the loud din made by a celebratory crowd in a small space makes distinguishing words in conversation a challenge. I can hear the sounds and I try my best to read the lips, but distinguishing the actual words being said to me is sometimes impossible.

In today’s chapter, the prophet Isaiah foresees that one day the Messiah will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the dears of the deaf. In fact, Jesus alluded to Isaiah’s prophetic words when He told the followers of his cousin, John the Baptist:

“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”

Yet while the miraculous physical healing of the blind and deaf was witnessed and well-chronicled by Jesus’ followers, the healing of the physical body was just the surface of Jesus’ intention. He made it clear that His mission was clearly focused on infirmities of the spirit. Those who physically see and hear perfectly well can, at the same time, be spiritually blind and deaf. Jesus quoted another one of Isaiah’s prophetic words when He described the crowds following him:

Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”

That’s a concept I increasingly understand as I sit amidst the loud din of a cast party or a crowded restaurant. I can hear the sounds all around, but I am deaf to the messages being spoken directly to me by a friend. Though hearing, I am deaf.

This morning I am thinking about being blind and deaf. I wonder if there isn’t, for some, a reciprocal relationship between the physical and spiritual; As my eyes fail my spiritual sight becomes more acute, and as my ears become increasingly deaf my spiritual hearing reaches new levels of clarity. This is my hope. I can manage relatively well if my ears and eyes fail along my journey. The circumstances are more dire if the eyes and ears of my heart remain blind and deaf.

One thought on “Deaf Amidst the Din”

  1. There will be a highway
    called the Holy Road.
    No one rude or rebellious
    is permitted on this road.
    It’s for God’s people exclusively—
    impossible to get lost on this road.
    Not even fools can get lost on it.
    No lions on this road,
    no dangerous wild animals—
    Nothing and no one dangerous or threatening.
    Only the redeemed will walk on it.
    The people God has ransomed
    will come back on this road.
    They’ll sing as they make their way home to Zion,
    unfading halos of joy encircling their heads,
    Welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness
    as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night.

    I drive a lot for my job. A LOT. I’m well over a million miles in my sales career and I’ve got years to go! So this morning, when reading verses 8-10 from the Message translation, I was put behind the wheel once again. This time, however, I wasn’t going to get lost, I didn’t need to drive defensively and there were no knuckleheads on the road. That’s driving I could get used to! So too the road of our spiritual journey. The word picture in this passage indicates complete safety, no danger and no chance of getting lost. Sign me up for that road trip!

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