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  • Baptist Beacon

Deaf to the voice of God

by Tim Patterson

PLYMOUTH, MI – Some time ago I made a quick trip back to Texas to visit a dear friend of mine. It was a great time for Sabrina and I to travel the highways of Texas because of all the beautiful wildflowers that are in bloom. Especially beautiful is the state flower of Texas, the "bluebonnet".

This short excursion to my homeland really brought back some great memories of days gone by, and the ministries I have had in that great state. It seemed as though every sight, sound, and smell would cause the events and people of my past to spring up in my memory like the flowers of the season.

One such gentleman who came to my recollection was a man I had the privilege of pastoring several years ago. He was a great man and a true friend. He had one slight problem. He had a severe hearing loss and needed hearing aids in order for him to adequately understand conversations.

The problem really wasn't his hearing, but his refusal to wear his hearing enhancement piece. As long as he wore his "aids" he was a joy to be with and to talk to, but the moment he went without them, he became a completely different person.

His whole demeanor would change, and his attitude would go “south” in a hurry. He would interrupt while others were speaking, and completely misunderstand what they were trying to say. On several occasions, he became enraged because he misunderstood another man's statement.

It was quite easy to ascertain when he was driving, and not wearing his hearing aids as well. He would appear to be in his own little world, and totally oblivious to his surroundings. On several occasions he just barely avoided being involved in or causing an auto accident because he could not hear the warning blasts from other drivers’ horns.

When large groups would gather, he would isolate himself from everyone, or just leave the gathering altogether. Many thought he was antisocial and did not like socializing. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. He loved people and enjoyed their company more than anyone could know.

But all of this embarrassment, pain, and these problems could have been avoided if he would only use that which could help him receive communications clearly. All he needed to do was to use his hearing aids.

In every Believer, God has given us a special "hearing aid". That hearing aid is the Holy Spirit that dwells in each of us. By Him, we communicate with our Heavenly Father and receive our directions, instructions, corrections, and encouragement.

Today many of us travel the "information superhighway" and the vast majority of us are “connected” to the web through a plethora of media. The truth is that God established a "Supreme Information Superhighway" when He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us thousands of years ago.

It is super "hi-tech" and you don't need to log on to it. All we must do is pray. But if we refuse to pray and use this wonderful gift that God has given us it will ultimately cause others and us untold pain and suffering. We will begin to isolate ourselves from other Believers, misunderstand and create unnecessary conflict.

When we refuse to stay connected to our Father, not only do we cause self-inflicted wounds, but we can create an atmosphere surrounding us that can wreak havoc on those closest to us.

Prayer is not so much us talking to God, but us listening to Him, receiving instruction from Him as to His will, and then living our lives accordingly. If we don't listen, we will not know. If we do not stay connected, we will be doomed to a life of isolation and misunderstanding.

No one would willfully choose to be deaf. Deaf to the voice of God. Now that is sad!



Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.


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