***As my daughter is visiting, I haven’t been able to finish a new post. So, I am sharing with you an article that I wrote a few years ago for our church paper. At the time, Celebration was the church’s Wednesday night service.***
Recently, as my husband and I were leaving the sanctuary after Celebration, we were stopped and asked if we would counsel with a deaf couple. As Decision Counselors (now called Decision Guides), we have never counseled with the deaf. Even though I had taken sign language classes, we both felt a little apprehensive and, yet, at the same time, we felt challenged. God will always give us His strength when we are weak. And we really needed His strength!
With hand gestures flowing rapidly from one person to another, our interpreter spoke to the young couple seated before us. We had the privilege of counseling with Grace and Sam. Being part of a conversation with the hearing impaired is a very humbling experience. In this situation, Norman and I were indeed the handicapped ones.
Grace and Sam wanted to talk to counselors about being baptized. They shared about their salvation and love for the Lord. They will be married soon and they wanted their lives to be in covenant with the Lord. So, at a recent Saturday night service, they came to church to be baptized.
All those to be baptized came into the baptismal as a group. As Grace and Sam waited their turn, Dave Stone [our pastor] baptized the others first, and as each one went under, Sam raised his hand in praise to the Lord. What a glorious sight!
As their friends and Grace’s father looked on, Dave baptized this precious couple. Teary eyed, I sat riveted to my seat as we, along with the congregation, witnessed the outward expression of their inward confession, as an interpreter conveyed the message of Dave’s words to Grace and Sam. Their hands then waved the sign for praise. What a privilege to have been a part of this.
After the service, we told Grace and Sam that we loved them and would be praying for them. We all hugged and said we would see each other later. In total silence, Norman and I walked up the aisle, hand in hand; our hearts too full of God’s goodness to break the spell with words.
Walking through the parking lot, I broke the silence by saying, “I’m totally amazed how awesome God is. He hears us even when we have no voice to speak to Him. He knows the voice of His children. He hears us no matter what our handicap.”
On the ride home, I tried to imagine a world of total stillness, but I could not imagine my life without ever having heard my grandmother sing The Old Rugged Cross. (My grandmother has been dead for almost forty years, yet, to this day, I still cannot sing it without crying and thinking of her.)
I could not imagine never experiencing the joy of hearing my children call me Mommy. I could not imagine never having my soul touched by the sounds of my husband telling me that he loves me. I could not imagine never being afforded the luxury of hearing the name of Jesus preached in a sermon.
Yet, at the same time, I could only imagine my auditory nerves never being blasted by the sounds of hard rock or rap music, or people arguing, or the dog whining, or the garbage language in movies. Oh, to imagine that none of these had the ability to invade my world! I could have an uninterrupted quiet time with the Lord, anytime, anywhere. He hears us no matter what our handicap – or situation.
I pray God will lay His hand of blessing on Grace and Sam and that He will always be the center of their lives. Sam mentioned after the service that he wished to be used of the Lord. The interpreter told him that the Deaf Taskforce needed someone to teach a Bible study class. Go for it, Sam! God will always use those with willing hearts as His instruments.
~Oh, Lord, thank You for allowing us to be used as those instruments that sit in readiness at Your feet. Only You know what our capabilities are and what we can accomplish. You would not send us out unless You thought we were fit for the task.
Thank You that You bend low with Your hand cupped to Your ear, waiting patiently to hear the melodies of praise from our hearts. I praise You that You use the Holy Spirit as Your tuning fork to fine-tune us for Your service. Your harmony is the sweetest when played on those instruments that lay closest to Your feet. May we be so close to Your feet that we always hear Your Still Small Voice.~~