What keeps you from hearing?

listening

I am deaf in one ear. The day it happened I suddenly got loud, EXTREMELY LOUD, ringing and intense pain in that ear and after a few minutes, the volume of ringing decreased somewhat and the pain stopped. But, other than the ringing I could hear nothing. They call it sudden sensorineural hearing loss. They tried several treatments to see if my hearing would return but it didn’t. Hearing aids didn’t help because, well, if you are really deaf then amplifying it doesn’t help. It’s just louder sounds that you still don’t hear. Eventually it was determined that I needed a cochlear implant and they went through all the insurance issues to get it approved. Finally after a couple denials it was approved and I had the surgery and now can hear in my previously deaf ear when I am wearing the processor. I have to say that it is not the same as my natural hearing but definitely better than nothing and it is a gift from God. I believe that He gives people the ability to find ways to cure some conditions or to improve some diseases so they are at least somewhat tolerable. I believe so very much and for that I am thankful. God uses people and technology to help us.

BUT, the issue that I face is that I still have the ringing, buzzing sound in my deaf ear. According to the surgeon the brain wants sounds and if for some reason our ears do not pick up the sounds around us the brain will create something. The ringing is, at times, annoying to say the least and at other times, near maddening. It makes it difficult to try to focus and concentrate. It also makes it difficult to hear more subtle sounds in that ear. Thank God, my hearing in the other ear is still good so I am able to hear well with it. Sometimes, with just one good ear, I hear too many sounds, my brain quit filtering the different conversations so I hear them all. When I go out to eat, I hear bits and pieces of everyone talking and all the clinking and clanking of silverware on the plates; that serves to make it harder to hear the conversation at the table. It distracts me terribly. So, between the loss of hearing and the new inability to filter extraneous sounds, I have more difficulty than I used to have when trying to hear someone tell me something important.

Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:          Ephesians 4:18

As I thought about my loss of hearing, I thought about how I have in the past lost my spiritual hearing. Life events resulted in me hardening my heart towards God and not listening to Him when He tried to speak to me. I didn’t hear when He would talk to me, I didn’t understand when He spoke because I allowed the ringing in my spiritual ears to drown out what He was trying to say. I became spiritually deaf and blind. I let life prevent me from knowing it was Him and allowed all the hurt, anger, bitterness, preoccupation with my career, concerns about other demands on my time, financial hardships and worries of life keep me from knowing what He wanted me to do. It doesn’t matter exactly what those distractions were, we all have our own distractions and worries that interfere with our ability to hear Christ clearly; we all allow life events and concerns to plug our ears and interfere with our seeing what He has planned for us.

7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,
8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Hebrews 3:7-10

 

 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.  Matthew 11:15

In addition to having the surgery with the implant to help my hearing, I had to retrain my ears and brain to hear properly again; I had to relearn how to filter out the conversations and sounds that were distractions so I could focus on the one important conversation. I am still working on that as my ears still get all the stimuli coming in and I often have extraneous noises that overwhelm me and keep me from hearing the really important things. I also still have the ringing that also interferes. But, those things are getting better, rather I am getting better about filtering out the things I don’t want or need to hear so I can receive the information I need. Much like my spiritual hearing where I am learning better to hear His still small voice and not let the buzzing of human existence and the noises the enemy creates distract me when I want and need to listen to Him. I am not fully where I want to be in that regard, maybe I will never be as good as it as I want, but definitely much improved. I strongly suspect I am not the only one that way, truly I think we are all that way to one extent or another.

So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  Romans 10:17

 

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Matthew 13:13-15

 

I definitely need to hear Him better, to listen carefully and try harder to understand what He is saying to me.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:16-17

 

 

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.              Revelations 3:20

 

More than just hearing though, I need to learn to follow His instructions, do His bidding. Regardless of what my human nature says, in spite of the things the enemy tries to say to interfere with my ability to hear and willingness to obey Christ.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  James 1:22

 

I have to remind myself that if I listen and follow the instructions He gives me, He will lead me in the path He plans for me and when I do, He will bless me for doing so.

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

So, I shall strive to listen and to actually HEAR Him better, to take what He tells me to heart and do my best to follow His guidance, to learn to ignore the noises of life that interfere with my hearing Him, to block out the enemy’s taunts and attempts to distract me.

 

Lord,  Praise You and Your Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for my sins so I could have salvation. Thank You for helping me see my shortcomings and helping me to understand how I need to improve to better serve You. I pray in the name of Jesus that I learn to block out the things that interfere with my ability to see Your plans and hear You in my heart so I can do what I know You want me to do. Help me understand better Your will for me. Teach me to focus better on You, Your wishes for me and know when Satan is trying to work against me. Draw me closer that I can be the person You want me to be. Draw us all closer to You, help my loved ones know how to see and hear You in their lives that they may all come to know you and the magnificent blessings You hold in store for those who follow Christ. Help us all to be people who glorify You with our words and deeds.

Amen

 

I hope all have a wonderful day and are blessed as they go about their business. Please try to be a blessing to someone else today as well.

 

 

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Hear the word!

John_5-24

 

Hearing is important for a lot of things, conversations, sermons, music, and in my job it is critical. I don’t mean just processing the sounds and words, but truly HEARING the intended message. Many more times than I wish I have heard the words, but not what the person saying them meant. That applies to both spoken and written word. In the context of this particular verse and the overall messages of Christ’s ministry and the Bible; hearing, COMPREHENDING and BELIEVING the truth of those messages is vital so one may have that life eternal that Jesus promises us. Many, many times I sat in church as a child and an adult, hearing the words but not truly understanding. Oh, I believed, but often as I read the Bible now, I find that I am better understanding what God wants to tell us and not just the superficial messages that are derived from a quick read and minimal thought. I also see now that we must not only understand and believe the true messages behind things, but we must incorporate the teachings into our daily life. I am working to be better at that, I am better at it than I was, but still have a long way to go. I praise Him for His patience and understanding as I work through scripture to learn what He is teaching me and LIVE what He is teaching me. Every day He makes me a better person, a better Christian and I am far from where He wants me to finally be in my Christian walk but I’ll get there, one step at a time.

Lord, I praise You for the message, mercy, forgiveness, redemption and salvation I have been given. I thank Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross, that He freely accepted the suffering He went through because of my sins. In the name of Jesus I pray that You continue to work in my heart to show me the true message You are trying to tell me, the real lesson You want me to learn and how to incorporate those lessons in my life. I pray You continue to work with me to show me Your plan for my life, help me learn to put myself aside so that I don’t seek what I want for myself, but what You want for me. Teach as all Your true plan and remove those things in our minds that cause us to not see your plans, remove the obstacles, selfishness and worldly mindset that clouds our judgement and teach us to see with the eyes of Christ. Draw us all closer to You and Your perfect plans. Bring my loved ones close to You and give them the desire to know You and seek Your forgiveness so they may have the salvation You offer.

 

Amen

I hope all are having a blessed weekend and that you are able to be a blessing to someone else as well.

 

 

Do you ever hear God talking to you?

mosesbush.gif.jpg

I often wonder if anyone actually hears God speaking to them in an audible voice. I know He can, and has, done so with Abraham, Moses, Isaiah and others but I have never had that happen. I have felt Him moving me in a way, mentally, thoughts about one thing or another, feelings, burdens, however you wish to describe it but not in an audible voice, or one I just hear in my head like someone talking. Sometimes I get thoughts, gut feelings, concerns or however one would call that sense one gets about certain situations and feel I should do something and when I don’t follow through the thoughts start nagging at me about the issue. More times than I can count at work I’ve gotten that feeling. The patient is there for one reason, maybe sprained ankle or knee pain but one little thing they say or  something I see makes me get a feeling they may have another issue that is unrelated to the main problem that day.  At times I’ve ignored it even though deep inside I should look into the issue that occurred to me only to have patient come in later for the issue I  had the concern about that ends up being a far bigger problem than  the first one.

So, over my career I have learned to listen to that little voice in my mind saying “maybe they are here for the ankle but you need to check on their blood work.” Which  is not normally done, in fact there is no reason to do that in such a situation. Or, a child that parents bring for possible ear infection I’ll get that feeling to also examine for something else. Now, regardless of how busy I am or how bizarre it seems I follow through on those feelings. I can’t remember all the times I’ve had that feeling and with rare exceptions that feeling is correct. Just a few of the more memorable instances are:

A patient was in for a regular follow up, he was a soldier that had been injured during a training accident and required a couple surgeries, physical therapy and a lot of time to heal. He was almost fully recovered and would be getting transferred to a different bad within a few weeks so it was probably the last time I was going to see him. He had gotten the assignment he wanted and going to the base he had wanted to go for several years but instead of being as excited as he should have been he would be expected. He seemed happy.. BUT…something in his eyes and voice caused me to get THAT FEELING. I couldn’t put a finger in anything in particular as why I felt that way or what may have been the issue but SOMETHING needed looked into further so instead of bidding him well wishes and moving on to the next patient we just sat and I asked if there was anything else even though I’d already asked him that question. He said no but I couldn’t feel comfortable yet so we just talked about new job, base, plans and such. I asked about those things and then let him talk and would occasionally nod my head and say hat sounds good, etc. While talking he at times seemed very upbeat and excited but other times indifferent, then a one point when he was talking about how great things were and how all was going exactly how he had planned he paused and said, “Sir, have you ever felt like no matter how perfect things seem none of it matters because things aren’t right, even if you’re getting what you always thought you wanted and life really doesn’t matter?” Ok, nw the alarms were starting to go off and not that little gut feeling. I asked a few more questions and found out he had sent his wife and kids to see his in laws and after done at the appointment with me and one other appointment he was planning to go home and commit suicide. He had already seen his case manager and social worker that day and no one had picked up on it! Those people knew him fat better than I did so they should have noticed something. Regardless, he needed help so, despite being behind in clinic we talked longer and it became obvious he needed far more than I could do for him so I asked if it would be okay if I called mental health to see if someone there would be able to talk with him more. He somewhat reluctantly agreed and I made some calls and as able to get it coordinated, explained to him what was going to happen, which doctor he was to see and walked with him to that office and introduced him to the psychiatrist and left. The psychiatrist called me later and filled me in on things. No big issues but lots of little things had been wearing the patient down. Then added, “even knowing ahead of time he was suicidal I don’t think I’d have picked up on this. How did you know?” Well, I had no explanation other than a gut feeling. He told me that they had s plan for safery and  the patient was not going to be at risk for now and should do great. A few months later I got an email from the patient thanking me and letting me know he was doing well, no longer considering suicide and a little about his family and such.

Another time while working in Urgent Care parents brought in their 4 year old girl for ear pain saying they thought she had an ear infection. She was a beautiful child, smiling and happy.  As I watched her and listened to them something seemed funny with how she moved one arm, just SOMETHING! I did the exam for ear infection and no ear infection present, then examined her right arm closer, definitely weaker than leg and then found the right leg was effected too. I coordinated for a CT scan, having to argue with radiology because they didn’t feel it was necessary but finally gave in. Because of her age she needed to be sedated so she would hold still during scan so I had to call anesthesia and had similar response as radiology but they also gave in and we got the scan which showed a large brain tumor. She was quickly transferred to the nearest children’s hospital and unfortunately I lost track after a few weeks but she’d had radiation treaments, surgery and was getting chemotherapy and seemed to be doing better. But as soon as the scan was don’t i was called about the results and the radiologist said, “I really didn’t think we’d find anything but Wow, good catch!”  The girl had been seen the day before and that provider didn’t find what I did but it was probably there perhaps a little more subtle but it was present. But, that provider did not check further, had I not listened to that feeling she likely would have died in 1 or 2 days at most.

The last I will mention today was a teenager that came for knee and leg pain. That is very common in kids this child’s age, but something seemed, well, odd in how he described it. Not the typical type of pain, no injury he remembered and nothing I could find out about would say it was anything more than maybe growing pains. Nothing on initial exam seemed unusual, then, I looked in his mouth, not something I normally do when they are there for joint pain, but I took a minute, for some reason I can’t explain, to listen to his heart, lungs, abdomen, all of which were fine, and look inside his mouth. Some bruises were there. Well, some foods can cause that, hard foods, Captain Crunch and similar cereals certainly can injure the mouth. But, nope, hadn’t had any foods that SHOULD have caused it. Hmmmm, something off here but nothing I could put my finger on. So, while I normally would not do it, I ordered x-rays and some labs. The report on the x-ray was vague, which is often the case, but there was a comment that there appeared to be decreased bone density, the bones did not look quite right, not wrong, but not right. The lab showed mild anemia, lower than normal red blood cells, but his white blood cell count was extremely low. As I looked it over, I realized that due to what we call the differential, the percentages of one kind of white blood cell compared to the others, this child had leukemia. I arranged for evaluation by Oncology, a cancer specialist, and for follow up the next day by his pediatrician. After he was seen by both they called or emailed and told me they were surprised I had checked those things because clinically, the tests were not indicated, meaning the reason he was there did not typically warrant doing those tests, but because I did, this child was most likely going to do extremely well. I never heard more about him for about 2 or 3 years, then parents came in with a sibling and recognized me. They told me all about him and that he had made what was considered a complete recovery after chemotherapy, radiation therapy and bone marrow transplant. He was still seeing the oncologist and pediatrician and getting blood work and such done, but had been free of cancer for over a year.

I don’t say talk about these things to puff myself up. Now, I know I am a good doctor but I also know I am not the best either. I wish I was, but there are many that are better. My daughter has only been in practice for about 3 years and she is an amazing physician and will get even better with time. Far, FAR better than I will ever be. I don’t say these things putting me down, I feel I am quite a bit better than average at my job, but I know or know of, those that are better. I am certain there are many I don’t know that are better as well. The patients I mentioned had all been seen recently for similar issues or by others that should have picked up on something during the appointment but didn’t. I know one is a better pediatrician than I am at Family Medicine or Urgent care but she missed the correct diagnosis. So, what is it that made me able to find the problem. That small voice, that feeling, that sense that something needed looked at closer. Even though I was not walking with Christ at the time, I believe that God was telling me to check into things closer. He still uses us when we don’t walk with Him, He uses sinners for His good at times. That was the case in these instances. No way would I have picked up on the clues if He had not caused me to try to look into things further. I give God the credit and the glory for all these instances and many others over the years.

But, what about other times I have had the same feelings. Well, sometimes I feel it is God “talking” to me, trying to move me to a certain action, but then have doubts and hold off on acting on those issues. Maybe I get a feeling that I should call or otherwise contact someone, but I don’t, fearing that it may be ME wanting that and that it isn’t from God. Maybe if I try to contact this person or that person they will be upset that I “bothered them” and get angry at me. Maybe others will think I am being nosey or interfering with their lives, perhaps think I am trying to cause trouble. While that would not be the case, if those people feel that way, there won’t be any good to come of the attempts. I am having that feeling now about some people, thinking that they want, or need, to hear from me. Several people in fact: coworkers, friends, family, neighbors, etc. I need to figure out how to tell who NEEDS to hear from me, who WANTS to hear from me and who DOESN’T want me involved in anyway. All are people I care about, but perhaps they don’t, or say they don’t, care about me. HOW does one determine which of those feelings to act on? Different things for each, maybe just a quick hello, I was thinking of you and wanted to see how you were doing. Or, ask if things are okay. Perhaps a feel a particular burden for one person or another and feel like I have an idea about something, maybe someone having issues at work with others but it seems the issue is deeper than work, maybe family problems. I have acted on those at times, trying to not seem to be a busy body, but also trying to help them. One instance was a coworker that was usually pretty easy going, like everyone, they had their moments but for the most part, a good worker who started having a lot of little disagreements with people, nothing HUGE, but still, they were not acting in a manner that is normal for them. One woman I work with was doing that, several days I avoided the topic, didn’t ask anything, just talked about work issues with patients and such but finally, I had to ask, I COULD NOT help it, I had to because the little feeling had become bigger and the longer I delayed, the worse I felt about things. Well, as it turned out, her daughter had started being sick several weeks before, evaluation at first was normal, no abnormal labs or x-rays, but she was getting worse. Then, just a couple weeks before I talked to her they found a slight increase in the liver enzymes, the chemicals that tell if one’s liver is working properly. They looked back at all the other tests and they were normal, but just below the high level to be considered abnormal and when they looked even further back they found that her previous tests had been for a few years at the lower limits of normal. They had an indication it was her liver malfunctioning, failing, but not a cause. Repeat tests showed the enzymes to be even higher and just a couple days before they had discovered that the cause of the liver failure was an herbal supplement that she had started taking shortly before she started to feel bad. It was one that is not uncommonly used for moods that has very mild antidepressant effects. BUT, in a very small number of people that have the genetic predisposition it can cause significant liver problems because of the way their bodies and livers process and breakdown the chemical. Her daughter was at the point that it was not certain if the liver damage was temporary or permanent. If permanent, it would either require a liver transplant or would eventually result in her death. This woman had said nothing to anyone at work. No one had asked her, but a few others had noticed the behavior issues the same as I had noticed but never bothered to ask her about how she was doing, was something bothering her or in any other way showed any concern. I didn’t do that much, just asked if she was okay or was there anything bothering her. She had been bottling all that up, the only ones she had spoken to about it were her daughter, the doctors and her husband but she needed the outlet. I wasn’t walking with Christ at the time, but He still used me. I thank God now I was able to know then that He had a job for me and wanted to use me for someone else’s benefit. I felt bad for her, but she did say she appreciated the time and said it was a relief that someone cared enough to ask her about things. What a mighty, merciful and kind God we serve.

1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

Genesis 17:1-4

4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

Exodus 3:4-6

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

1 Kings 19:12-13

 

Yeah, I will admit, I am jealous of those that God speaks to in the way He spoke to these men and others like them. But, I still “hear His voice” but in a different way. But, what about those times one just isn’t 100% certain you really are feeling God tell you something and instead, perhaps it is just YOU that wants to do it? I was going to go into that now, but this is already a lot longer than I planned, so I will end for now, but address the question in another post to follow soon.

Lord, You are great and mighty, Glorious beyond my ability to understand or find the words to describe You. I praise You and thank You for all You have done for me and others. I thank You for the scriptures that tell me that You do speak to us at times. I pray I am ready, willing and able to hear or feel Your wishes for me. I pray in Jesus Name that You work in my heart to make it sensitive to You and Your will in my life. Work on the hearts of others that they too can feel You in their lives, those not saved, draw to You and those saved, please draw even closer than they are at this time.

Amen

 

Thanks for the visit and your time. I will be posting the follow up post soon, or at least as soon as I am able to understand what He wishes me to say. I pray all have a blessed day, and take the time to be a blessing to someone else as well.