Thursday, January 17, 2013


Many of you know that my daughter-in-law has been deaf since early childhood. This past year she had a cochlear implant. Isn’t that an awesome change in one’s life?

If you have an e-mail account or are on Facebook, I’m certain you’ve seen the YouTube video of the toddler, sucking on his pacifier, when they turned on his cochlear implant. His mother was speaking to him and his mouth dropped open. He had no idea what the words meant, but this was new and different. He lost the pacifier, concentrating on her face, grinned for a moment, listened again, then just smiled. His whole world had changed. From that moment on, he would learn differently.

Same for my DiL. She had decades of learning – in school and at home. She read in English, ‘spoke’ in American Sign Language and in local deaf vernacular. She also spoke aloud, with the lack of inflection the deaf have, as they have nothing to compare. Now, think for a moment what she needed to learn.

The word ‘read’ – we know how it sounds. She did not. She recognized the written word. How long does it take to associate the sounds to those written words?

Yet, we expect new Christians to understand ‘Christianese,’ to be able to read God’s word and have it be as clear to them as it is to the deacon who was raised in the church and baptized at ten? Not hardly, and we do them no favors. Often, we place stumbling blocks in their way with our own expectations. We are at different places in our learning.

Congregants certainly aren’t (or aren’t expected to be) as well versed as the pastor shepherding them. We expect him to lead and to teach us. Why then do we expect new Christians to know what we know, to be beside us on our journey?

Perhaps we need to slow down a bit – not in our learning or desire to be with the Lord – but He said the way was narrow, not the fast lane. He said strait was the gate, not that it was the starting gate in the race where we were to remain steadfast. Taking time with new Christians opens whole new vistas, seeing the glorious message take root in their hearts. Often, that’s where we’ll see an answer to our prayer:

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; (Psalms 51:12a)

It is His salvation, not ours. It is given, freely, and we may enjoy it eternally, but it was created by God for His purpose and it is offered as a gift that does bring joy.

Some learned long ago how to listen to to the Lord through the Bible and prayer. Some are just starting, as we once did, as we all must:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

Some have come to a complete halt. Listen with your heart. Renew the joy of His salvation.

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