I was born Deaf, but became deaf through a marvel of technology: the hearing-aid. What’s the difference between Deaf and deaf? Heart language and culture. There is a range in the severity of deafness. Mine was severe enough so I could not hear well enough to use a spoken language. Fortunately, hearing aids became available to me when I was in second grade. They were very large and expensive. With the hearing aid I could learn to speak English with the help of a Speach Therapist. My therapist also taught me how to read lips. English became my heart language, not ASL. So I was able to make my way through public schools. I barely made it to college, but then almost flunked out in my first term. By changing to a different major and minor, I had more teachers who spoke English without an accent. That made all the difference for me. I struggled all the way to graduation.
My entire life has been a struggle. Deafness make communication hard with the hearing world. Hearing aids made me “hard of hearing”. I never was “hearing”, only “hard of hearing” with my hearing aids, or deaf without them. It was tiring to compete with the hearing at work, and it didn’t help me with hearing about Jesus.
Jump forward a few decades and I can now look back over the years of my life. I came to know Jesus late in life. Indeed, I was late for a lot of things because I was deaf. I grew up slowly and matured slowly. Still, God protected and nurtured me. He also blessed me.
After a period of open rebellion as an atheist, I finally came to realize that God made me who I am and the way I am. Like others I asked the “Why me?” question. Why did God make me Deaf? Also, why did my father have to have MS and for me to lose him to a horrible disease? Why did too many of my relatives die young from cancer? It did not seem fair until I gained His perspective on my life.
Exodus 4:11 “And Jehovah said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh a man dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, Jehovah?” (ASV)
As Moses found out when he complained to God about not being eloquent of speech, I learned my Deafness was to be overcome. Overcoming and maximizing my life despite my Deafness would glorify God, my creator.
Psalms 139:13 “For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (ESV)
My Deafness was from birth. My father’s MS came in the prime of his life. Others in my family had cancer cut their lives short. It’s all the same to God. We glorify God by doing the best we can with what He has given us. We honor Him by holding fast to His laws and following His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord despite our troubles.
1 Peter 1:7 “These troubles test your faith and prove that it is pure. And such faith is worth more than gold. Gold can be proved to be pure by fire, but gold will ruin. When your faith is proven to be pure, the result will be praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ comes.” (ERV)
No matter what our struggles we grow in faith and patience until that day when we will meet Jesus in Heaven.
Isaiah 29:18 “At that time the deaf will be able to hear words read from a scroll, and the eyes of the blind will be able to see through deep darkness.” (NET)
Isaiah is here looking to the distant future. A day when all handicaps, diseases, all pain, and all things wrong with us, will be wiped away. The deaf will be able to hear God’s words spoken to them. Deafness on earth, in a fallen world, is a handicap which can make life difficult, challenging and even miserable. But, it is only temporary. In Heaven, all Deaf can look forward to hearing God’s spoken Words.