How's Your Hearing?

 It is interesting how you are treated when you enter your senior years. Some donut shops want to give you a discount. Passerby’s sometimes look at you and your spouse with that look like they are thinking, “God bless that sweet couple! They are still holding hands and are ambulatory enough to shop at a big box store together!” Then, there is the annual wellness appointment with the nurse practitioner. At check-in, you are handed several sheets of health survey questions along with a clipboard and pen as you are told to sit and work on “your homework!” The first thing I noted was that the heading stated this survey was for those 70-79 years old!

Image Credit: istockphoto.com

After completion, I was then called back for my evaluation by the doctor/nurse practitioner. Please understand that I like our lady healthcare professional. She is friendly, competent and efficient. She has served both my wife and me very well over these last few years. We trust her judgments on our behalf and think we are getting excellent care!

One question she asked seemed to take up more time than I thought appropriate! It had to do with my hearing or specifically, the loss of hearing and the growing challenge of understanding what others are trying to say to me. Ironically, the doctor’s clinic does not help the situation! Two things in particular make it hard to hear when Covid-19 protocols are in place. One, we are still required to wear masks, as do those who serve us. And secondly, everyone is required to speak through plexiglass, socially distanced barriers that separate check-in assistants from the patients, and make it impossible to lean toward the person talking!

How am I supposed to answer a simple question like, “Do you find it increasingly difficult to understand those speaking to you?” What I want to say is, “Yes, of course! And it seems that all of the personnel serving us are struggling too!” Words and sentences sound like a bunch of mushed verbiage at times! I had a hearing test some years ago and knew then that I was experiencing some obvious loss of hearing in certain ranges. I think it was mild at the time, but I’m sure it has digressed to the more moderate stages now.

Have you ever said to someone, “Could you speak up, please” as I have a few times lately?  I know where this can lead. I remember how a lady scolded me a few years ago in a senior living facility where I was leading an inspirational service. She sternly remarked, “CAN’T YOU PROJECT, SONNY?” I think I can say that most people don’t take too kindly to being held responsible for another’s hearing problems! J

Whose problem is it that there is a growing number of individuals who are spiritually hearing challenged? Who is responsible for this deficiency? Is there a remedy? As a pastor for many years, I have spoken Sunday after Sunday to worshippers. The message was something God had laid upon my heart to share with His people. I’m sure that some of it fell upon hearts open to God, but many times, I wondered how many had closed their hearing to what God was saying.

Jeremiah was nicknamed a “weeping prophet.” Through tears, he grieved the grief of God on many occasions. His words were largely unheeded as God used him to warn His people of impending judgment, “I’ve got something to say. Is anybody listening?” And truth be told, too few were taking it all in. As you read Jeremiah’s message you feel the frustration growing with so many who weren’t listening to God. “It’s hopeless! Their ears are stuffed with wax – deaf as a post, blind as a bat. It’s hopeless! They tuned out God. They don’t want to hear from me. But I’m bursting with the wrath of God. I can’t hold it in much longer.” (Jeremiah 6:10-11, MSG).

It’s hard to admit that there have been times when we have heard the preacher’s message and dismissed its relevance by thinking, “I hope so and so heard this!” The thinking was, “That’s not for me!” This kind of self-deception is costly. Not taking responsibility is irresponsible and a sure sign of a spiritual condition akin to hard of hearing of the heart! Let’s remedy this by leaning closer to the Lord with a readiness to listen to what He is saying and then, with obedience, acting on what we are told.

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent. 
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com 

Comments

  1. I prayed earnestly every sermon would produce God led results. 1) the congregation would know more about the Lord Jesus Christ and NOT me and 2) would be asking "what change do I need to make in light of the sermon?"

    In the service, it was drummed into us that you can delegate authority but never delegate responsibility! In service to my Lord Jesus Christ that meant that, as long as I was surrendered and faithful, He would be responsible for results.

    Further, I was convinced that Apologetics blew a hole in human arguments just big enough for the Holy Spirit to convict. What a joy (as you keep expressing) to serve such an awesome God who loves us and "waits to be wanted!"

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, friend! Some excellent insights! I have often thought and said, "Let's give the Holy Spirit something to work with here!"

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  2. Every Sunday I fearfully approach the pulpit with confidence, not in my oratory skills, for this Southern preacher usually butchers the king's English. My understanding is that God's Word does not return to Him without serving His purpose (Isaiah 55:11).

    Do I wish that more would listen and heed His commands? Yes. But if not, I will continue to care for His flock and to communicate His commands and Law - with the highest expectations of God's grace manifested in me and others.

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  3. Good thoughts my brother! I think you are making the journey of aging fun. Hope I can do the same.

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