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From Loss to Gain

Most of you know I have been adjusting to a rather dramatic loss of hearing recently. Your kindness and prayers have been most encouraging, and I especially appreciate your patience when I say, "What?" I confess at times there has been in me a kind of mourning over the loss of a gift I have quite taken for granted -- the capacity to hear people speak to me in a noisy room, the delight I have in listening to beautiful music any time I want to hear it, and to feel at one with the congregation as I join my voice to theirs in singing the praises of the Lord. With the loss comes quite a bit of aural distortion which greatly interferes with musical enjoyment. I have to remember or imagine what music and singing sounds like normally.

But the loss of a gift can be a gift in itself -- a different kind of gift -- what we might call perspective. This world won't last. It is very temporary. Our mortal bodies won't last. They are temporary. Even those of us who have been spared major injury or illness in life will reach an age when things simply start to break down. Solomon's powerful poetic description of extreme old age in Ecclesiastes 12, which he calls "the evil days," reminds us that decline is a march toward death and judgment. For me, "the daughters of song" already "sing softly."

But while decline in this world is inevitable, that coming Day of Judgment looks all the brighter for anyone who knows Jesus as their great Lord and all-sufficient Savior. The same Jesus who spoke Ephphratha ("be opened!") to a deaf man so he could hear will come again and set the entire world aright. All of creation, Romans 8:22 tells us, "groans and suffers the pain of childbirth." But in that same passage we are assured that "the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (v. 21). The children of God are destined for a glorious freedom, a restoration, with new bodies and eternal life in a new world. The Israelites were promised through Isaiah:

Take courage, fear not.

Behold, your God will come with vengeance;

The recompense of God will come,

But He will save you.

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened

And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.

Then the lame will leap like a deer,

And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.

For waters will break forth in the wilderness

And streams in the Arabah.

.....

And the ransomed of the Lord will return

And come with joyful shouting to Zion,

With everlasting joy upon their heads.

They will find gladness and joy,

And sorrow and sighing will flee away.


As we groan with our losses -- all the things we mourn or miss, whatever they may be -- all will be restored in freedom and glory in that day, for all things are ours in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:32, 1 Cor 3:22). This is because the salvation He achieved for us is unfathomably rich. Yes, it is enough that there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:1), due entirely to God's gracious mercy. But there is so much more! More to come. More to see. More to hear.

...but just as it is written, "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Cor 2:9


And so we look ahead to that time, and for that day we long. All our limitations here make that day all the more to be anticipated and all the more to be enjoyed when it comes, just as being in the dark makes light to appear all the brighter when it is finally seen. As a Christian, I've always believed that, but now I am looking forward to the day all the more. No wonder the old hymn calls out to us:

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,

Your loosened tongues employ;

Ye blind, behold your Savior come,

And leap, ye lame, for joy.


Yours in Christ

Pastor Wayne Wilson

Originally printed in The AFBC Pony Express. Vol. V, No. 7, July 2012.

 

“Give ear and come to me, hear me, that your soul may live.”

– Isaiah 55:3