By Michelle Morrison

“Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and 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 seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them’” (Matthew 13:13-15 NKJV).

I didn’t even hear! We, none of us, heard.

At our church, we have a monthly social of sorts, nothing hard or elaborate. We don’t even call it a catchy name. The church secretary picks a restaurant somewhere relatively close, the date is set as the last Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m., and whoever wants to go, goes. A reservation is made for 20, just in case, and whoever shows, shows. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Created for social connection, it’s worked! There are the regulars, the core. Then the curious, the intermittent, the one-timers. Any and all are welcome.

Last night, someone had neglected to call in the final count and the whole front of the restaurant, elevated and semi-private, was reserved for us. Only seven of us came—core, for sure, but only seven. And here’s the rub: Fairly early, before the last couple came, the attentive waitress revealed that she had seen the group reservation and specifically scheduled herself to work that evening, asking to wait on us. That was surprising information, and we were apologetic that we hadn’t called our final count in. We were so few.

Near the end of the meal, as we were finishing up the last of our entrees, we started to interact and talk with her as she had been expressing how grateful she was for such a kind group of people to serve. I asked her why she would want to work for a large group, so much so that she chose to work that night and because of our group. She then replied, “Until recently I was working two jobs, this one they schedule a day at a time so it’s easy to pick up shifts, and the other was a bank job. I’ve worked here ten years, and there three and a half, and I was fired recently at the bank. . .” Then she shared how this past Thanksgiving, her husband had gotten off his work shift at 3:00 a.m. and got hit by a bus, hurt seriously, and was now in physical therapy, still recovering.

We all murmured our empathy, somewhat surprised again for her transparent sharing, when she added that she was glad for the work, and then spoke curiously that the restaurant was almost empty at only 7:00 p.m., she only had us and the other waitress only had one other table.

And we missed it. I missed it! I didn’t hear! Really hear!

I don’t know if you’ve heard of the “One Word” spiritual movement—I’d noticed it in my own life years before, how the Holy Spirit will impress a particular word on your mind, usually near the beginning of a New Year, that focuses your attention. The word usually points to an area of growth He wants to do in and for you. For more than one year my “word” was vision, given to me months before I actually struggled with my actual vision, requiring eventually five surgeries, four of the five emergent. While the word grew to mean more than actual vision, this year, before Christmas, I lost almost all my hearing in one ear, with other accompanying symptoms that kept me down for over a month, straddling the New Year. Somewhere in all that, I noticed the word “hear” was popping up in my times with Jesus. “Hear, O Israel—the Lord is One God!” (Deut. 6:4). The seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 and each of their warnings all end with, “He who has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit says to the churches!” (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken to a wise man . . .” (Matt. 7:24). It was everywhere!

My kids would notice too, and send me verses or tell me stories, or about sermons, and then absently “aha!” that it had “hearing” as the point. I started paying attention. Okay, Lord? What do you want me to hear? Know? Learn? And yeah, I’d really like to get my real hearing back too, if You would!

Previous to my illness, I’d been listening to the sermons of a couple of guys my son recommended during my long commute. For over six months, I’d been filling my mind with the gospel, preached in a way I’d not heard before. The beauty of Jesus, His love for me and how to live it out, had me listening almost every day, wanting this message to be mine. I wanted it to flow out of me as it so obviously did them through the stories they told, many with strangers, chance encounters, random people as they would live their lives – stories of lives changed, prayers prayed, bodies healed. They “looked” for opportunities, saw them, acted on them, and shared how much Jesus loved them and how Jesus showed up. Over and over the Holy Spirit led them, and He got the credit. This Holy Spirit, promised and given by Jesus, would help us see with new eyes, hear with His ears. The desire grew within me to really see, and really hear.

“For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” Jesus spoke these words, referencing Isaiah 6:9-10.

The restaurant was nearly empty. We were in a semi- private room, only us seven, a church group of similar believers of a Truth we have. A waitress who had shared her pain, her need.

We missed it.

I missed it!

I didn’t realize it was a Jesus-story like those I’d listened to for six months. I responded like any person of the world, as if I had nothing to offer but sympathy. I was deaf! I was blind! I heard nothing. No prompt. No thought to offer to even pray for her situation, let alone share Jesus with her!

But as I write this, the promise is there—spoken by Jesus himself: “lest you should see with your eyes and hear with your ears, and understand with your heart and turn, so that I can heal you.”

Lord, forgive me. Thank you for the grace of your healing love! For opening my eyes, my ears, my heart. Give me another chance—with healed eyes and ears and heart wide open.

Give me another chance. Thank you for the healing power of your love that can reach through my deafness,
my blindness, my hard heart, and do the miracle of spiritual sight restored, spiritual deafness healed, and a hard heart replaced with a new fleshy heart, soft and pulsating with love for You.

Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit—give me another chance to love and give You to those in need! I want to hear!

–Michelle Morrison is a member of Brighton Seventh-day Adventist Church and is married to its pastor, Wayne. Email her at: [email protected]