In a stroke of great advertising Verizon came up with a series of commercials a few years ago that asked the question “Can you hear me now?” These ads were designed to show us how great their coverage was, you could take your call anywhere.
I must admit that In our new home I find myself asking people the same question from time to time when I am on my cell phone. It seems our home is in a small valley which makes cell coverage less than optimum. It is very frustrating to hear only part of a conversation, or to only have some of your words go through. These are the conversations that rumors are made from.
I have also found that in my “midlife” I find my hearing to be less then it was a few years ago. At a table full of people with multiple conversations going on around me, I struggle to pick any single conversation up. Lots of smiling and nodding!
But I have no idea what it must have been like for the gentleman whose friends brought to Jesus for healing. Mark records he “was deaf and could barely talk.” This is a far cry from dropped words, or too many conversations at once. This is a world of silence and little communication. His friends “begged Jesus to place his hand on the man.” Jesus takes the friend away from the crowd that was always present and puts his fingers in the man’s ears. Jesus then spit and touched the man’s tongue.
Jesus then looks toward heaven and lets out a deep sigh. Then recorded in Jesus own native tongue we hear him say “”Ephphatha” (which means “Be opened!”)” With a single command of from the lips of Jesus the man’s ears were opened and his tongue was free to speak. This action amazed those who witnessed the change. They said “He has done everything well, He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. (Isaiah 35:5, 6 NIV)
One simple command of Jesus “Be Opened” reveals for me the very deepest cry of the Gospel. The cry that we might truly hear, and clearly speak. There are many days when I know that that Lord is really saying to me, “Can you hear me now?”
At lunch this past week I shared with a good friend of mine the struggle I was having hearing from The Lord as I seek his will for my future. After several moments of sharing what was happening in my life, my friend simply smiled and looked at me and asked, “So how loud does The Lord have to shout for you to hear him?” I have been so very blessed in the last few days to hear from The Lord with such clarity that it is frightening.
I was also reminded that I am in good company, God shouted at a lot of people to get their attention, from Abraham to Paul the Bible is full of accounts of our shouting God. Scripture is also filled with people filed with fear at the very Word of The Lord.
I pray that I continue to listen, careful to discern His voice, and then listen some more. Someday I know that His voice will continue to challenge me to clearly speak the Gospel. My prayer is that you would be listening, and hearing from our loving God as he speaks to you. Then you can stand with me, and the unnumbered others who have stood in amazement and declared “He has done everything well, He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.