I took Seth in this morning for a routine follow-up to check his most recent tube placement from early December. Along with seeing our ENT at this check up, we were also to meet with the audiologist to check Seth’s hearing. Not uncommon at all that Seth would have a hearing test, however, I never expect much from these as he failed every hearing test he took last year.
It was only until the ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) test done at the hospital last summer that we knew for sure that Seth had normal hearing in his right ear alone. This extensive test proved that Seth had no hearing in his left ear. ”A birth defect” as described by the audiologist and his ENT. ”He’ll never hear out of it. Hearing aids wouldn’t help, and neither would implants. From now on, we ignore the left ear and try everything we can to keep that right ear healthy.”
Joel and I were disappointed that he only had hearing in one ear, but started praying, “Lord, we ask that you would heal Seth’s ear if it would bring you much glory. You are able and we will love you and trust your will above ours no matter what you choose to do in his life.” And so was our prayer for the next six months. I prayed it so many times it seemed to roll off my tongue like a child’s blessing before a meal, “God is great, God is good…”
Many would ask simply why we haven’t had Seth in the nursery at church and our answer has been that we have to keep him healthy because we have to protect his good ear. With a depressed immune system and smaller than normal nasal passages and eustachian tubes, we had seen that a cold would invariably result in ear infections. His worst battle with ear infections was last May when he was hospitalized for five days trying to clear them up. At the recommendation of our ENT and pediatrician, we took Seth out of childcare all together, limited his interaction with other little tots, and have washed our hands like crazy in effort to keep him well.
I shared our prayer with several people over the course of time. One of the friends in our choir shared it with her daughters who then just said, “Mommy, we need to pray for Seth’s miracle ear!” I loved that and then started calling it his “miracle ear” too. We’ve been diligent over the past several months to speak into his “good” ear and keep his interactions in noisy situations and environments to a minimum. I even began to notice that he struggled a little with sound localization- finding out what direction a sound was coming from. If you whispered in his miracle ear, he didn’t respond. It became clearer to us as the days passed that he truly couldn’t hear out of that sweet little ear.
Never once did I doubt the Lord’s power to heal Seth. I would play and sing Kari Jobe’s song, “Healer” over and over again, proclaiming that truth over our lives that, “I believe you’re my Healer. I believe you’re more than enough for me. Jesus, you’re all I need. Nothing is impossible for you…you hold my world in your hands.” I specifically recall a moment in the month of December as I was singing this song over Seth, just holding my hand over his little ear, proclaiming with every word that I sang that I believed God could heal Him if He chose. In the middle of that song, I received a call from a friend of mine whom I’d been fervently praying with for the past month, and over the course of five years, that she would have a baby. She called with the good news that she was pregnant and right there I wept tears of joy with her and proclaimed, “Jesus healed you!” It is as though the Holy Spirit was just whispering to me, “I did it…and I can do it again. I wanted to show my power to you today so that you might believe in my power even more.”
I shared that story with my family and some friends over the Christmas break. It was one of those “God moments” for lack of a better label. And I had to share time and time again about how much I believed that God could heal Seth– if it would bring Him much glory. It made perfect sense to me! In our world, the best plan would be for God to open up Seth’s ear and miraculously heal him. But Joel and I know fully that our plans are not always what is best for us. Sometimes the Lord has better things in store for us than what we could ever imagine. Our concern has been for whatever would bring the Lord the most glory. We have always wanted nothing more for our lives, and those of our children, to bring the Lord all honor, all praise, all glory.
Back to today…..Seth and I arrived at our appointment this morning on time, ready for anything and expecting nothing. As I sat and waited with him playing gingerly under my feet, I scrolled through my email and was reading an testimony of a father whose son had been in the hospital for weeks with congestive heart failure and once he was in surgery, the doctors opened him up to find a completely whole and healthy heart—much to the Lord’s glory, He chose to heal the little boy. The father’s words of faith and hope penetrated me to the core and I just agreed silently in my heart, “Yes, Lord, you are the Great Physician. You can heal- you are God. You are still very much active and working in people’s lives today. If it is your will….if it brings you much glory.”
We were called back with Mr. Allen, a kind man about the age of my parents with a “let’s get down to business but have a little fun while we’re doing it” type attitude. While he combed through Seth’s extensive chart, I told Mr. Allen that I wanted a hearing test on both ears. Yes, I knew that the chart shows that he has profound hearing loss in his left ear, but that for six months I’d been praying and asking God for a miracle. That I believed that God could still perform miracles if He chose to do so and that if it wasn’t today, that I’d continue to want both ears tested each time we came in for check-ups. He couldn’t argue with me and said, “Sure thing! We’ll do it. Why not?”
Our first test placed Seth (and me) in a sound-proof booth to measure his ability to localize sound. He’s never done well in this situation, but for Pete’s sake! He’s only 20 months old! I held Seth on my lap and held his attention with a few blocks while Mr. Allen sat outside the booth and filtered different sounds and frequencies through different sides of the booth to see if Seth would turn his head– the first time– in the right direction of the sound. If he got it right, your traditional monkey-cymbals toy would light up and play, giving positive reinforcement for the baby so they’d keep playing the game…..yeah, it was hard not to laugh. First sound came from the right- his good side- Seth turned- monkey clapped- baby clapped- one down. Next sound came from the left- his bad side- I held my breath- Seth turned- monkey clapped- baby clapped- mommy looked at Mr Allen- he was laughing! Sounds kept coming and Seth nailed it. Mr. Allen couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t jumping to conclusions….let’s just say I was open to whatever was happening, but not yet getting excited or even speculating.
The next test involved little earphones being tightly wedged into the ear canal of each ear (separately…oh yes, he LOVES this one…) and sounds are passed into the ear, measuring the response of the crista ampullaris (movement hair cells), which vibrate at the response of sound to indicate one’s ability to hear. In past testing, Seth’s movement hair cells never…well, moved! I held Seth in my lap, one hand holding down his hands, the other hand holding his head still while Mr. Allen squeezed the earbud into his good ear. After what seemed like an eternity with a squirming baby and Mr. Allen practically in my lap as well trying to entertain Seth and keep the plug in his ear without touching it (you’d have to be there- it’s a real circus in the auditory booth), he yelled, “PASS!” Well, praise God! Let’s do the other one.
Round two of Seth and Mr. Allen in my personal space and the earbud in Seth’s miracle ear. ”Let me just go print out these results and I’ll be right back, ” said Mr. Allen with a puzzled smirk on his face as he left the room at the end of that test. In a flash, he came back into the room and said, “Well, he passed in the right ear. Everything was normal and he’s never even passed that test in my office before!” (….let’s get to it, Mr. Allen) ”And, well, hah! He passed in the left ear too! I mean, all the way down to the last frequency which I thought he’d never pass because it’s the hardest one…but, look at that number- it’s even in the normal range!’
We looked at each other for a moment and I felt tears forming. ”Tell me more, Mr. Allen!” I said to him, more shocked that anything. ”Well momma, he can hear! He can localize- I mean he aced that test and well, I don’t want to get your hopes up or anything- I have to write all of this on the report for your doctor to read, but you saw him do all that, right? He knew where all those sounds were coming from and the numbers here indicate no problems.”
I asked him if he’d ever seen anything like that before….a kid never passes a hearing test and then all of a sudden, they pass it one day. He thought a second and said, “Yes. One time. It was a little kid that went to a Christian school (he said pointing at us) and one of his affected ears completely was normal a few months later.” (A reminder, Mr. Allen is in his 60′s.)
I told Mr. Allen it was a miracle and he said, “Well, Amen!” Seth saw that we were excited and started clapping. We all clapped for him and I heard Mr. Allen laughing to himself all the way down the hall as we found our way back to the waiting room. Once they called our name to come back to see the ENT, our doctor met us in the hallway without waiting for us to settle in an exam room, “SETH!!!!! What’s going on with you? What in the world?!! What on earth are you feeding this kid, Wheaties? What have you been doing to him? This is amazing!”
“No sir. We don’t eat Wheaties at our house. I’ve just been doing a whole lot of praying and asking God for a miracle.”
After we sat down and talked through the test results, I asked if we needed to do another ABR, another hearing test, something else to prove what just happened. He said it wasn’t necessary- those results were accurate and unless I ever noticed him not responding or speaking (which I hadn’t) then we should just settle in on it. Seth could hear in both ears. I kept looking at him and I think both our mouths were wide open!
“It just is what it is. I don’t know what else to say! It just is!” he said, to which I replied, “Seth got a miracle.”
All he could then say was, “Yes.”
Our hearts are so full- they are bursting! There is nothing about our family that makes us special or different from you or anyone else. We’re just regular folks…we’re just sinners in need of a Savior like the rest of the world. God just chose to heal Seth. I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know if it was yesterday, two weeks ago, or in that moment today. I just know that I have medical records and doctors that said this summer that he would never be able to hear from his left ear. Today, I have records and the same doctors who said he has normal hearing in both ears- and they can’t explain it. To God be the glory! This was His plan for Seth, for our family, to experience this miracle and to witness first hand His power.
I can’t even comprehend it: the Creator of the Universe…the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David…the God who parted the Red Sea…the God who made a donkey speak…the God who tore down the walls of Jericho…the God who turned water into wine…the God who made blind men see…the God who brought people back from the dead with a word….the One who purchased us with His blood…the Word of God who will soon return to conquer…THAT SAME GOD cares enough for Seth to heal him. THAT SAME GOD cares enough for our family to show us His great power. THAT SAME GOD led you to this moment to read and witness first hand His power. He did it so that we might believe, and He would be glorified.
For those of you who are believers, I hope this has strengthened your faith. I don’t know if I can say it better than my sister-in-law, Kristin. She wrote about it today on her blog under the title, “What are you not asking for?” Check it out- what a great read to challenge all of us to daily ask God for the impossible.
If you don’t know Jesus, He is mighty to save. The God of the Universe is interested in a relationship with you personally. He already knows everything about you. He just wants you to realize the immeasurable joy of knowing Him. You can know Him as the Savior, the King, the Healer of your heart. Romans 3:23 says that ALL of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 6:23 tells us that we deserve death because of our sinfulness, but God has given us the free gift of eternal life. That means your BEST attempt at being a good person is woefully short of His HOLY standard. But there is one great hope! John 3:16 tells us that Creator God loved this world- me and you- so much, that He sent His son, Jesus, to be our perfect sacrifice on the cross to save us from that sin and give us His righteousness. Jesus’ righteousness is what qualifies us to stand before God, not the good things we do. All we have to do is believe this and ask Him to forgive us for those sins and be Lord of our life. If you have never made that commitment, why go another minute without living in the Savior’s Love? You can simply pray this:
“God I know that I am a sinner and I need a Savior. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sins, which have separated me from You. I know that you promise to wash me clean of all my sins, and I’m asking that you would come live in my heart and forever be my Lord. Thank you God for saving my soul. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer and treasure Christ as Lord , you just received an extravagant gift of grace from a merciful God. You are now a member of the kingdom which will never end. In this world you are guaranteed to have trials and tribulations, but now you don’t have to go through those trials like those who have no hope. Your destiny is sealed by God’s unchanging hand through the blood of His perfect son Jesus who now sits victorious over sin at God’s right hand.
It’s our prayer this encourages you as it has forever impacted us at the Fun House. Praise you, Lord Jesus! Praise the name of Jehovah Rapha- our Healer!