It Was Bound to Happen – Greg Albrecht
Mark Twain, in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer (I know, mentioning this politically incorrect book will probably result in me being “banned in Boston” – not to mention being declared persona non grata in many esoteric ivory towers of progressive “wisdom”), has Tom Sawyer staging a practical joke and attending his own funeral.
While I have never considered staging my own funeral and secretly attending to see who would come, while listening to what they would say about me, I realize I am on the way to my own funeral and I am becoming more acutely aware that many less than enjoyable experiences are “bound to happen” on the way to the grave.
Greatly encouraged to do so by my wife Karen (and wisely so) I reluctantly submitted to some hearing tests. The tests revealed my hearing loss to be moderate to severe. Initially I rejected using hearing aids because I was in denial. Then, when I finally stopped running away from the inevitable, I rejected the proposition because of “what they will look like hanging on my ears.” After a few days of entertaining this rather lame excuse I realized I am not much to look at in any case. Interesting, isn’t it? I was more concerned with what hearing aids will “look like” rather than whether they will help my hearing and more than that, how I can improve the quality of life of others around me (most notably Karen).
Some time ago I accepted the fact that I am getting older and with it comes diminished capacities. Some things I will not like are bound to happen. I get that. Some of them have already happened. All of us realize that aging and loss of capabilities and a loss of a certain degree of “dignity” are coming. Some of you are much further down this path than I am. Sooner or later aging is bound to happen.
Wisdom of the ages informs us death and taxes are bound to happen. The longer we live the more we realize we are not that different from other people – things that happen to them may well happen to us, some of them in fact surely will.
Beyond the commonly recurring cycles of life, we can also say that almost anything which is not governed by an absolute law prohibiting a particular experience can happen – that is, anything that can happen is bound to happen at some time to someone. Life happens – I have seen it, I have experienced it, and I have talked with thousands of people about their own travels down the roads of life.
I believe in 1) a Christ-centered life, which involves suffering and heartache. It is clear that those who follow Christ do so in suffering and self-sacrifice, far more so than in prosperity and good fortune. As Christ followers we pick up our cross and follow him. Suffering is bound to happen.
I also believe in 2) the grace of God. The grace of God means that we cannot control our lives as we would like. We cannot be as healthy, wealthy, safe and secure as we would like. Experiencing the grace of God means surrendering to the reality that he is in charge and will ultimately take care of all that troubles, pains and afflicts us. While the grace of God is never forced on us, the grace of God is dynamic, active, healthy and vibrant in our world today… whether we want it to be or not. Grace is just as sure as the law of gravity. God’s grace is bound to happen. As that old song goes, he does have the whole world in his hands.
The grace of God means that though we lose physical abilities, faculties, friends and loved ones, he will always take care of us, in his way and in his time. As I wear my hearing aids, my hearing has improved. More than that, through these early days and the learning curve of wearing them, I am even a bit more aware of listening more carefully to God.
God certainly doesn’t need any devices to help him hear me, but as I reflect on my hearing aids I believe I am and most certainly have been, in the past, “hard-of-hearing” when my gracious Father communicates with me. Improved spiritual hearing comes by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves. It is the gift of God.
I have worn glasses (and contacts for a while) over 50 years. For more than five decades I have often pondered the miracle of spiritual vision. Now, adding hearing aids to the glasses I wear, I have considered that of the two senses, while both are important and mentioned a great deal in the Bible, it seems the Bible uses hearing as the predominant spiritual gift, to explain how humans know God.
Open our ears Lord that we may hear more of and from you.