“I’m sorry. Could you repeat that?” Anyone who suffers from hearing loss has surely said this on more than one occasion. Hearing is a fascinating gift, and not to be taken for granted, for those who still possess it. Of the five senses (touch, taste, vision, smell, and hearing), hearing gives us continual input of dynamic and vital information. What can we learn from the miracle of hearing? Is there spiritual significance to this understanding?
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website, “2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.… Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing.” Hearing loss can range from mild, moderate, severe, to profound, profound being a total loss of the perception of sound.
The human ear is a marvel of design and engineering, and it reflects the unlimited creative capacity of God. “Hearing, also called audition, is the perception of sound. Sound is comprised of vibrations that are perceived by organs inside the ear through mechanoreceptors. Sound first travels into the ear canal and vibrates the eardrum. These vibrations are transferred to bones in the middle ear called the hammer, anvil, and stirrup which further vibrate the fluid in the inner ear. This fluid-filled structure, known as the cochlea, contains small hair cells that output electrical signals when deformed. The signals travel through the auditory nerve directly to the brain, which interprets these impulses into sound” (ThoughtCo.com).
When hearing loss is profound—total loss—a device can be implanted under the skin near the ear. An electrode is routed into the inner ear and directly stimulates the auditory nerve providing electric signals that, with training, can be interpreted as distinct sounds or words. The NIDCD states, “As of December 2019, approximately 736,900 cochlear implants have been implanted worldwide. In the United States, roughly 118,100 devices have been implanted in adults and 65,000 in children.”
Just as this electronic hearing device can be implanted into the ear to restore or enable the perception of sound, so spiritually there is something that must exist within us to enable spiritual perception of “spiritual sound”—the truth of God. Many have erroneously been taught that Jesus Christ spoke in parables so that the multitudes that followed Him would be able to understand. What did Jesus, Himself, say about His parables?
In Matthew 13:10, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered in verse 11, “Because it has been given you [His disciples] to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them [the crowd] it has not been given.” Jesus hid the true meaning within the parables He taught. He continues, “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because… hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand… and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing… lest they should… hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them” (v. 13–15).
It was not yet time for everyone to hear and understand the message Jesus brought, that of the soon-coming Kingdom of God to be established on this earth. That was the topic of many of His parables, and the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 is such an example. However, through a profound relationship with the living God, it is possible to receive the gift of spiritual hearing.
Do you want to have spiritual ears to hear? Consider James 1:21, which tells us, “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” If you are willing to embrace meekness (to desire God’s will above your own, and to trust Him as a child trusts their parents) then you, too, can have hearing ears. Read the article “Prepare to Inherit the Earth!” to learn more.