Indian Life Newspaper -

Ears to Hear


Last updated 7/23/2014 at 9:50pm

I ducked under the eaves, lingering to hear the rhythm of a gentle rain as a chickadee called from a nearby lilac bush and a chipmunk scampered from the bird feeder. Quiet, simple sounds; yet profound.

If you haven’t done your morning exercises, I invite you to try this. Sit in as much silence as possible; then, listen and identify what you hear. (This is my kind of exercise!) How many different sounds do you hear? Nature covers our sound canvas like the artist’s initial wash on a watercolor. Consider the different volume settings for wind and water. I like to retreat as far away from mechanical sounds as possible. Of course, I have to shut off my own mechanical noise when I get there and wonder whom I’ve disturbed on the way.

I appreciate rhythmic music and inspiring words; yet nothing speaks to me quite as profoundly as the sounds of nature. The reverberating boom of a thunder storm reminds me that God is mighty; an early morning songbird assures me that God provides for the smallest creatures.

I love to hear the voices of family and close friends. I wonder how every person gets a different, instantly-recognizable, voice. How do our brains sort all the sound waves? How can our brains untangle unseen waves and make sense of language, even applying significance to variations in tonal meaning for the same words?

I can understand eyes which see better than I can comprehend ears that hear. Eyes have a camera lens inside which focuses on objects and then relates information back to the brain for interpretation. This process, as miraculous as it is, seems to have a bit more to work with than sound and hearing.

The decorative part of our ear funnels sound waves onto a drum, which vibrates the message through three tiny bones, called ossicles, into liquid inside small curled tubes called cochlea. Tiny hairs, lining the cochlea, move with the rhythm of the waves and send messages to the brain. I have no idea how our brains make sense out of its tiny sound system!

Like with eyes, not everyone’s physical ears work well.

Thankfully, our spiritual hearing is not hindered by physical limitations. First, God hears us. Does he who implanted the ear not hear? (Psalm 94:9a). I had to apologize to the Lord today when I read that; I have been nagging Him about something lately as if He was unable to hear me. How refreshing and encouraging to “hear” His Word and be reminded that He hears!

Another truth is equally encouraging. We can hear Him. Jesus said: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:19-20). The God who made our ears to hear and our brains to interpret wants to hear us, and He wants us to hear Him. Truly amazing!

1. Jess, John D., The Birds and the Bees (Chicago: Moody Press, 1978) 32

© Sue Carlisle 2013. Sue Carlisle is a member of the Ponca tribe and spent much of her youth on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Her passion is to encourage people to look at creation and see our awesome Creator.


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