Having Ears To Hear “He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
by Mark Wood
He who formed the eye, does he not see?” Psalm 94:9
As Christians we know that God created humans with all of our body parts and each of those parts has a purpose. Psalms 139 describes God’s intricate involvement in our individual formation: (v. 13) “For you formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” One of my favorite body parts to ponder is the ear. Our ears receive sound energy for hearing sensation and help us with our balance.
Often in scripture, the connection between our ears and hearing is made in order to illustrate our need to sense God’s spiritual work in us and around us. When Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear …” He was not just talking about our physical ears. He was emphasizing a spiritual point. He was drawing our attention to his words so that we would pay close attention to his message. He was also distinguishing those who were spiritually alive (able to hear) from those who were spiritually dead (unable to hear).
Our world has been full of sound from the beginning when God spoke the world into existence. In the beginning, Genesis records that God spoke, and everything came into being. The power of his spoken words literally formed everything we see around us. I believe that God gave us physical ears to hear for many fulfilling reasons. Hearing is one of the first senses to develop in the fetal stage of growth and fetuses respond to external sounds as they develop. Hearing helps us to hear the words of our relationships: family, friends and work associates. Hearing helps us know something about the world around us: blowing wind, rustling leaves, running water, rumbling thunder and crunching rocks under our feet. Hearing helps us avoid danger at times: sirens, speeding traffic, growling dogs, and a hissing snake. Hearing also helps us worship:
2 OBU LEGACY NEWSLETTER August 2010
the melody of song, voices harmonizing, the rhythm of instruments, prayerful meditations and the spoken words of a minister.
Unfortunately, too often, our ears can fail us for one reason or another. As an ear physician I have the responsibility and privilege of helping people whose ears are not performing at their best. Hearing loss can be frustrating, confusing and isolating for adults. For children hearing loss can be developmentally devastating. Undiagnosed hearing loss can result in speech and language delay, permanently altered cognitive development and limited educational and employment opportunities.
Children learn spoken language by what they hear. If they hear poorly, their speech and expressive language are likely to develop poorly. Approximately 150 children are born with hearing loss in Oklahoma every year. Thankfully, Oklahoma is a state that has an active, skilled early detection network that helps screen most of the babies born in hospitals and birthing centers. In order to achieve the best language capabilities for these children, the parents must form a team with medical, audiologic, speech pathology and educational professionals. The whole team must be committed to the hard work of teaching these children to listen and speak. Through the wonder of high fidelity hearing aids and/or cochlear implants and careful Listen and Spoken Language Therapy, children can achieve normal language skills, carry on conversations with friends and family, listen to the evening news, be mainstreamed in school and eventually go to college, have meaningful employment, and worship with hearing congregations. To reach these goals requires the full commitment of the team.
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