Monday, September 29, 2014

Prisons of the Mind – Can Deafness Set The Captive Free

Recently a deaf person emailed me a letter that profoundly touched me. I don’t have permission to print it—hopefully at some point I will—but I wanted to share my response to her. 

I have a large contingent of deaf and hearing-impaired people who follow my blog. Her struggles are universal also, not just confined to those who are hearing disabled. 

I pray that my thoughts are Godly and thought-provoking. Salvation is a momentary decision but can take a lifetime of surrendering. Wherever you are in that decision, after reading this blog post, please share. This may be your moment….don’t waste it.

Can Deafness Set the Captive Free

Prisons of the Mind – Can Deafness Set The Captive Free

By Lorilyn Roberts

Satan’s biggest deception is to masquerade as an angel of light. He wants to trick us into believing, if it were possible, that Jesus Christ is not the answer. The paradox is that God made us both strong and weak. We are strong in the sense that we fight for life at all costs, longing for what He gave us in the beginning – eternal life. We are weak in the sense that true happiness can’t be found except in our relationship with Him. If Satan can convince us we can be as God, our pride will make us reluctant to admit we need anyone or anything else. Humility lies at the beginning of the road to salvation.

There are many kinds of prisons and you’ve found one of them – the bottle. Prisons null our pain, but they also take away our freedom—most importantly, the freedom to choose. God also never takes away our freedom to fail but will never not give us what we need to succeed. The devil will give you what you think you want—God will give you Himself. Some prisoners will go to their grave having sold their soul to the devil—for this world and the next. For what? A lie. 

Ultimate freedom in Christ will never take away your freedom of choice. If you have made idols of your wants or lowered your expectations of what will make you happy, you will be imprisoned in your mind to false gods that will do nothing to save your soul. Sin feels good at the time, but a moment of bliss can bring a lifetime of regret. Ultimately, sin will destroy your ability to hear God’s voice. Don’t forget, eternity is forever. We will all spend eternity in heaven or in hell. The choice is ours.

You are strong in the sense you have found freedom by conquering your dependency on alcohol. God has blessed you with a spouse to love and cherish. As you have discovered, however, it’s not enough to be free FROM something. We need to find our freedom IN something.

There is not enough of anything in this world to bring us complete happiness. There is not enough power ball money, adoration of fans, cushy jobs, plastic surgery, or computer gadgets to fill our hearts. We aren’t made to have a relationship with idols. We are made for a relationship with Jesus Christ. Without Him, all other pursuits may bring partial or temporary happiness, but they are fleeting at best.

That brings me to the root of your quest for answers. Who is God? You were born deaf, and your whole life has been devoted to overcoming this limitation in order to survive in a world where nearly everyone else hears. You feel flawed, shortchanged, and your perceptions have influenced many of the choices you have made, both good and bad.

Has it ever occurred to you that God made you that way for a purpose? You might ask me, “Why would God do that?”

People ask that question in reference to their own “flaws” or “disappointments” or “lot in life” hundreds of time each day. I have asked myself that same question – I even ask it of others. Why did God take away my friend’s eyesight  (Author Janet P. Eckles, Why did my beautiful adopted daughter from Nepal suffer for years with seizures? Why did God allow her to drink contaminated water from Nepal that gave her a brain infection? Why are there 150 million orphans around the world with little hope of being adopted?

My goal is not to make you feel guilty or to compare your disability with others. You have already done that plenty of times. We all have. That is part of Satan’s ploy, to guilt us into feeling like we are no good, or trick us into comparing ourselves with others with a legalistic yardstick—God does not measure our value in such a demonic, meaningless way.

We need to remember how much our sin grieves God. It took the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, to make it possible for us to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Can we know the evilness of sin and appreciate the price God paid in our fallen, depraved state? We can’t see it—except through suffering. We see sin when we see a young child die of cancer. We see sin on the battlefield during war, in a car accident that devastates a family, in a drug overdose that kills a young person, and in the sex trafficking trade in Nepal and India. We shake our fist at those things and proclaim the wickedness of man, aghast that any decent human being could rip out a young girl’s genitals and sell her as a slave. We cringe and become angry—angry at what we know is wrong and inhumane.

Our infirmities remind us of our need for Jesus Christ. We are driven to repent when we realize how weak we are in spirit to do even one good thing. Our blindness and deafness and diseases awaken us from an indifferent slumber and instill in us a longing for the day God will wipe away every tear. We don’t suffer in vain—we suffer for God’s glory. If we give our weaknesses to Him, something supernatural happens within us that is more powerful than anything man can invent or achieve. The Holy Spirit makes us bold, enables us to let go of past hurts and forgive. We are compelled to take our eyes off of ourselves and focus our hearts and minds on the one who created us. We remember once again we aren’t made for this world. We are made for eternity.

Your ability to rise above your deafness can only take you so far—it can’t overcome that emptiness within you that only the Holy Spirit can fill. In fact, Jesus Christ is so much bigger than your deafness, that if you truly allowed Him into your heart, your heart couldn’t contain Him. You would burst with joy—not that you are deaf, but that He’d given you so much joy. You would thank your deafness for allowing you the privilege of bringing others into the kingdom.

God has given each person many gifts. He has given you a gift of writing. If you want God to use you to help others, you need to claim one gift which you have not yet unwrapped. You need to claim His gift of salvation.

You have figured out how to live in this world marginally happy, but you know there is something missing. You are using the freedom God gave you to reject Him—His love for you and His salvation for you—forever. Forever is a very long time. If you die as a believer, you will be given a new body with perfect hearing. The greatest gift you will receive in heaven will be your appreciation for what you never had here. I believe my greatest gift will be the unconditional love of Jesus—the assurance that He will never leave me—I fear being abandoned.

What we don’t have here for God’s glory will be magnified in heaven, poured out, given with such generosity it will be as the stars that shine down on us or the sands that cover the seashore. If God lavished us with those perfect gifts here, would we really appreciate them? How many people have died lonely and broken—seemingly who had everything? How many truly happy people live in Hollywood? It is out of our need that God fills us, for then we know without Him, we are needy. The nothingness is what draws us to Him and enables us to be used by Him. We become His witness, His voice, His legs, His eyes, His voice, and His servants. We become part of the Great Commission.

Ask yourself: How can I use my deafness to draw people into a relationship with Jesus Christ? Use the one thing you don’t have to glorify Him—and you will find that your greatest suffering and need will become your greatest asset and joy.

Remember also, God loves you. He loves you more than you can imagine. Someday you will stand before heaven’s gates—will they open and allow you to enter? Don’t let anyone take away your desire to know the truth. As the Bible says, the truth will set you free. The search for answers will lead you down paths that only God can answer, that won’t be found in bottles of wine or quick fixes that lead to death.

I want to share a short excerpt from my book, Seventh Dimension – The Door, about a young girl who spent her whole life bullied and rejected by others. She was imprisoned by her worthless and destructive self-image. Read what the King did and ask yourself, is this not me?

Then the king turned towards me. I now knew the king completely—as my heavenly father, the father who loved me, the father who would never leave me or forsake me.

 “Your sins are forgiven.” He held out his hands and the fresh scars on his wrists overwhelmed me. Tears flowed freely. He said, “I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

A birdcage gently floated down from the sky and landed in his outstretched hands. He took the cage and hung it on an olive tree. 

A small bird sat inside the cage. The king opened the door to the cage and the small creature walked from its perch and alighted on his finger. He lifted the bird out of the cage, kissed it, and whispered, “You are a daughter of the king.” I realized at that moment, he was saying those words to me. I felt his tender kiss on my forehead.

I gazed into the sky as the bird flew into the heavens. Before I could say anything, the king was gone.

In Luke 4:18, Jesus said, "The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.”

You’ve been a prisoner long enough. Jesus, the King wants to set you free. He has opened the door to your heart, just as He opened the door to the bird cage for Shale and set her free. Don’t delay. Invite Jesus into your heart, ask Him to forgive you of all your sins, receive the Holy Spirit, and begin the first day of the rest of your life. You have a story to tell that only you can share. Someone needs to hear it, not the least of which is me. I want to know what Jesus has done in your life. Please share it in the comments below.

I will give away a free copy of my book Seventh Dimension – the Door, to anyone whose story is compelling, just for sharing.

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