The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, October 10, 2022, comes to us from Barbara St. Claire Barton of Tennessee.
22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on-going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing. James 1:22-25 NRSV
Following a serious illness, I awoke from a three-week “sleep” unable to move, talk, swallow, or hear. I recovered most of my abilities with time, but my hearing was permanently impaired. I was declared profoundly deaf. Months later, I tried very powerful hearing aids, and I was shocked when the silence around me was broken. However, most of what I heard was just mechanical noise that made little sense to me and was overwhelming.
Amazingly, my husband’s voice could cut through that noise, especially when I could focus on his face as he talked. His familiar voice brought me comfort, grounded me, and helped me understand what others were saying to me. Similarly, I believe that God’s voice can cut through the frightening noise of the world around us. The more we focus on God and the more familiar we become with God’s word, the more readily we can hear God speaking to us each day.
What would you do, if suddenly, you could no longer hear or see? For some, the question is not hypothetical but is a reality. Sudden loss of hearing or sight has been attributed to a variety of causes, but what can be most frustrating is when the cause is unknown. Barbara’s reflection offers a glimpse into the amount of patience and courage necessary to adjust to the loss of hearing. Some of us have watched our loved one’s struggle coming to terms with their hearing loss and the need for hearing aids. Barbara’s story also reminds us of the comfort a familiar voice and face can offer. Amidst our seasons of struggle, we too strain for the familiar voice of God to comfort and guide us. May you find moments to quiet the noise of your day, to attune your ears to God’s voice of love and compassion.
Dear God, may your words of peace and love guide us to do your will today. Amen
--Barbara St. Claire Barton
Thought for the day:
Focusing on God’s voice brings order to my life.