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Lessons in the Silence

May 20, 2016

It was a vain effort, but I tried changing the batteries on my hearing aids one last time, hopeful that maybe the tiny devices were malfunctioning. But no, even with fresh batteries, I still heard nothing. After cleaning my hearing aids, I packed them away for good.

After slowly losing my hearing over the course of four years, the worst had finally happened: I had gone completely deaf at 34-years-old.

When you lose hearing, the loss is irrevocable. I was now looking at a future of permanent deafness. However, I was not out of options. Although there was no way to restore my physiological hearing, they could give me a new way to hear: electric hearing through bilateral cochlear implants.

By God’s grace and provision, I now listen to this noisy world through two of these devices.

Many times in the Gospels, Jesus implores the listener, “He who has ears to hear let him hear…” (Matthew 13:43; Mark 4:9; Luke 14:35). I know now that this is not just a call to be attentive with your ears, but also to listen with your heart. These past five years he has especially asked me to listen in this way, to be attentive to the lessons he wanted to teach me.

Lessons pertaining to God’s sovereignty. Not to understand it, but to trust it. I can trust God’s sovereignty.

Lessons on suffering. Mainly, be prepared to suffer. Life is hard, and trials come. Bible reading and prayer are given as foundational disciplines of faith; exercising these disciplines each day prepares me to stay faithful through the mysteries of tomorrow.

Lessons about sin. Hearing loss and disability are trials, yes, but sinfulness will always be my greatest earthly struggle.

The lesson that worship and thanksgiving are a balm to my soul. I should not withhold my worship until life is made “right” because in a time of great loss, worship and thanksgiving are a true gain.

And finally, the lesson that my identity is deeply rooted in Jesus Christ, and this does not change with my circumstances or abilities.

What I thought was just a mere trial of the body, a time of suffering to get through as quickly as possible, was in fact the steady course God had laid for my life. And I have found, on this rocky road, great intimacy with the Father, for there were lessons to learn in the silence.

I presented my story and these five lessons at my church before many dearly loved women. I hope they will encourage you to hear the Word of the Lord with your whole heart, as you endure your own seasons of suffering.

What lessons have you learned through your own seasons of suffering?


The Author
Kari Olson

Kari Olson loves Jesus and her family. You will often find her busy reading, investing in her neighborhood schools, or serving at her church. She is married to Tom and a mom to Kettie, Tovie, and Tommy. They attend The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Barrington, Ill., where Tom is the pastor.

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