Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Life Sentence - Deaf !

If you see, hear and speak - if you walk on or reach with your own limbs - if you move with reasonable motility, then you may never have thought what life would be like without any of these parts or others that might always be missing or might malfunction later in life.

I was reflecting on living all of life deaf or blind or with some other normal ability of human existence that is hampered in some way. I am frustrated because I don't hear as well as I used to hear. I don't see as well as I used to see. I don't chew as easily as I used to chew... and the list goes on! BUT I have NO IDEA what life without ever having heard a spoken word, without ever having heard the wind blow or the birds sing would be like.

The loss of never having heard one of three sweet little voices of my dearly loved grandchildren saying, "I want to sit with Grandmama." or "I love you, Grandmama." is a loss too colossal to imagine! If I had never heard a sound then the loss of what words really mean when put with sound is so huge!

I understand that people who lose their hearing at some point in life - even very young - still have some understanding of sound and speech. Those who have never heard any sound live in a very silent and very different world from where you and I live. They have never heard sound. When they see words on a page, those symbols (words) are black marks on white but they don't translate into sounds for the person who has never heard. The concept of sound is meaningless to the one who has never heard!

Where is restoration for the one who is deaf? For the one who has lost hearing, where is the restoration of what is lost? For the one who has never heard, where is the restoration of what should have been but never was?

That restoration is found in the Gospel. Now don't think I've gone to preaching! I haven't! It's just the truth! Jesus came to earth, put on our skin and moved into our neighborhood to bring His Gospel of restoration to us. We flawed sinners could never bridge that gap between where we are and where God is. It is impossible! The only way was for Jesus to come and be the bridge.

Jesus brought the gift of restoration to our world! He makes a terrible trade for Him. He takes all our brokenness and gives us all His "never-been-brokenness"! (In theological terms we call it "justification" - making us "just as if" we had never sinned through the Gospel.) In plain words, Jesus exchanges His "never-been-brokenness" for all our broken pieces of life. He gives us the gift of restoration in His Gospel. That's what brought Him to earth and sent Him to die on the cross. He took what we deserved. He paid a debt He didn't owe because we owed a debt we couldn't pay!

So what's the deal for the one who has been sentenced to deafness for life? He or she can never bridge the gap to hear. It's impossible! You and I - the hearing able - must come into that silent world with our understanding, with our taking the time to learn to "sign" so we can "talk" to the one who cannot not hear. How could he or she ever "hear" the Gospel unless you or I take the time to "put on that silent skin" and be willing to live in that silent neighborhood? That's the bridge to bringing restoration to one silent soul at a time! It's God's way! It's the Gospel of restoration!

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