“Some people brought to Him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Him to place His hand on the man. After He took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (which means, ‘Be opened!’). At this, the man’s ears were opened,his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.”
Mark 7:32-35 (NIV)
Do you ever feel like your hearing’s impaired? Like you’re trying to listen to God’s voice, wanting to be His spokesperson in this fallen world, but your ears are somehow stopped up and your tongue is tied?
I know I do. I’m like that deaf man in Mark 7:31-37. I need Jesus to pull me away from the crowd, away from everyone and everything I rely on in my handicaps, until all I can see and all I can feel is Jesus. I need to let Him invade my ears and my mouth, invade all of me with Himself. I need to feel His touch so invasively, in fact, that all my lies of “this is just how I am” are blown to smithereens and I am freed at last to be who He made me to be.
Healed. Listening. Speaking plainly.
“Come near to God, and He will come near to you.” James 4:9a.
Can you feel the intimacy in those words? It reminds me of that game we used to play as children–the one where boy chases girl until she catches him. Do you remember it? Jesus pursues us because He loves us, but we need to stop at some point, if we truly want to “catch” Him. Life has deafened me to God’s voice by pride and scars and lies, and unless I pull away to be with Jesus, I cannot receive the healing I need to be free.
I don’t know what this deaf man did for a living, or what urgent matters his friends laid down to take him to Jesus that day, but if the choice to come near to Jesus when He came near to him had not been made, would this man have been healed? Mark 7:31-32. I don’t know. But I do know that if I want to catch God’s heart, know His mind, feel His touch, if I want to be healed of my spiritual deafness so my tongue is freed to speak His words, not my own, then I need to stop running. Isaiah 55:6-13.
Will you set aside a day just to meet with Jesus? To lay your busyness down and let Him get up close and personal? To let Him heal you of the things that stop you from being all He created you to be? To sit before Him, letting Him do anything He wants with you and in you?
Lord, take us aside as You did the deaf man in Mark 7:31-35. Away from our comfort zones. Away from the things we’ve learned to rely on instead of You. Away from the crowd and distractions. Away from the noise that says “Deaf is just who you are.” We invite You, Lord, to get up in our faces, to invade our spaces, until all we see and hear and feel is You.