Do your ears itch?
One of the lasting side effects I have from radiation therapy has been an itching in my right ear accompanied by some hearing loss. It’s annoying, but I happen to believe that everything has a purpose, including this.
This past weekend I finally started my book. (YEAH!) I’m still not sure what the title of the book will be, but the title of the first chapter is “Blindsided.” In it I explore the blind spots we leave exposed and the reasons we’re caught off guard when trouble hits.
As I have reflected on my own blind spots and the things that caught me totally off guard in my battle with cancer I’ve realized it wasn’t necessarily the diagnosis of cancer. The big thing that blindsided me was the tension between my expectation of what God would do about my cancer and what actually happened.
I know what you’re thinking… “What does this have to do with itchy ears?”
Like many American Christians I have been guilty of surrounding myself with teachers who said what my itchy ears wanted to hear, (see 2 Timothy 4:3). Consequently I suffered from some spiritual hearing loss. For years I heard, read, studied and claimed the scriptures that I liked and overlooked ones I should have paid more attention to. I didn’t do it on purpose; it was just easier to accept the scriptures that inspired hope and gloss over the ones shouting warnings I should have heard.
My real life itchy ears and hearing loss have been a constant reminder for me to lean in to God’s word to hear exactly what it says. I no longer feel the urge to pass over the hard to read parts. Now they are music to my ears. Below are a few of my favorites:
- It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. Psalm 119:71
- Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
- Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. 1Peter 4:12-13
Notice these aren’t the typical scriptures we plaster on our refrigerator. Nor would they get a “like” response on facebook. No one likes suffering, but it’s part of the Christian walk. God wants to grow our character and suffering is a tool He often allows us to endure so that we can know His decrees, not lack anything and truly be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.
When I satisfied my itchy ears with lopsided teaching I left a huge blind spot for the enemy to attack. Because I didn’t think God would allow me to suffer, I was shocked when I did. Now I know that affliction is good for me. I do consider it pure joy to know that God loves me enough to not leave me lacking. By participating in suffering I am all the more overjoyed that God’s glory was revealed through my healing.
So, I ask again… Do your ears itch? Do you surround yourself with teachers and scriptures that only tell the parts you like to hear? Are you leaving a blind spot open that the enemy can use to catch you off guard?