I booked a hearing test and when I told my granddaughter, without the slightest pause she asked “By popular demand, Nana?”
There’s a theory that the isolation resulting from deafness creates a tendency to dementia, and I would quite like to avoid that fate. I am, therefore, going to do whatever I can to stave it off for a bit and if that means a chunk of plastic down my lughole, well, so be it.
Anyway, I’m back from the test and the very nice audiologist said there’s been a rapid degeneration in the auditory nerve endings since the last test two years ago. So, there you go. Apparently I’m getting older and stuff happens.
Hey, how’s your hearing? Did you hear a huge and heavy penny drop this morning? Did trees shake and the earth tilt just a bit? Yes? Well, I can tell you what that’s all about! I read a small piece of encouragement in an email and I forwarded it to two people, and one replied ‘God is so good.’ And yes, He is. I know it. I’ve known it for ages. I smiled and put the phone away. But you know when the beginning of a thought meets the end of the thought and the concept becomes whole, and so much a part of your life that you’ll never lose sight of it again? That was the huge huge penny-drop for me. A clang of momentous proportions that may baffle seismologists as they trace a brief earthquake in West Wales.
I must have heard the quote ‘every good and perfect gift comes from above’ many many times, and I’ve believed it. Or rather, I haven’t disbelieved it. But I don’t think I realised it until this morning.
When something like that hits home, it’s good to look back over the last few days and see where the revelation, has been sown and grown. On Sunday I heard once again that faith comes from God, and I tussled with that for a few minutes, not disbelieving it but unable wrap my head around it. It’s a hard hard concept. So when I went home I looked up a few verses about faith, and I went to bed last night remembering a friend saying “I wish I had your faith” and how I had been at a loss to answer, so sure that faith was hers for the asking. I didn’t know what to say. I knew that I hadn’t ‘done’ anything to get this faith, I knew it was by God’s grace, so how to answer ? I was perplexed.
Last night, looking up those verses, I found Ephesians 2 : “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
We read that at church recently, and I thought I had grasped it. Obviously not.
This morning, as I sat in the audiologist’s chair, I dutifully pressed a button every time the headphones bleeped but I was still pre-occupied. Funny old place for a revelation, but apparently God is everywhere. And suddenly – there it was – understanding! I realised that of course it’s true that every good thing comes from Him, because, of ourselves, we can’t do or think anything that is entirely good, totally pure and selfless. We’re grubby, messy, stumbling people, and our humanity cannot be denied, yes, we’re loveable (God loves us to death and back), but wrong. How can anything, anything we do in our own strength be totally pure? Everything I do as me is tainted by something from me- impatience, or frustration, or resentment that I have to do this thing, or the desire to get it over and done with quickly, or with half an eye on my ego. Something human. So of course my faith, the one good thing in my life, comes from God, not from me.
Hah! Now I get it!
God spoke to Jeremiah “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
He brought me all the way to West Wales to tell me these things. I’m so grateful. He will give us only good things because that is His nature, so even when life feels really rotten, I belong to God, I am loved by God, and He can do only good. And when life is rollicking along with a tra-la-la, all beer and skittles, well, that’s from God too, innit?
If I understand that truth, then when I’m in pain, or sad, when I’m humbled by my deafness and have to ask yet again for words to be repeated… and even if dementia is going to be my lot… I can face today and tomorrow with joy and trust. The moment when I turned to Christ in faith was the first good thing in my life, and from faith come all other graces and blessings, so it must come from Him. It can’t come from me.
Am I going on a bit? Sorry, my little fruitloops. It’s just so exciting.
Everything in a submitted life is in Him and through Him, and with Him.
I’m beginning to understand. Just beginning. And it’s amazing. Amazing grace, forgiveness, love, belonging, deafness and hearing aids, they all come from God.
So why should I fret about any single bloomin’ thing? All things work to the good for those who love the Lord….
See how it all joins up? So perfect.