Fearfully & Wonderfully Made is a series of devotions. Click here to read her other posts.
“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made!” Psalm 139: 13-14
We live in a busy, noisy world! There are all kinds of sounds competing for our ears – words, music, TV, radio, telephone rings, even traffic noise. Shh. Listen! What do you really hear?
Ears are amazing – intricate tiny bones and tissue that vibrate — sending signals to your brain. Then the brain translates those vibrations into intelligible sounds. It’s so amazing that we can differentiate all those sounds and identify them. That eardrum membrane inside your head will register the drop of a pin and the noise of speeding race cars.
When the air molecules cause the eardrum to vibrate, then three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) transfer that vibration into the middle ear. These are the body’s smallest bones, and unlike every other bone in your body that grows with age, these do not. You are born with them fully-developed. They are in constant, unrelieved motion because every sound that reaches you causes these bones to work.
And think about how you can distinguish between different sounds? I can hear a tiny mosquito buzzing around my ear while I’m listening to my neighbor’s lawn mower. Every sound has a distinct signature of vibrations. Inside your ear is a one-inch long chamber housing 25,000 sound receptor cells. They look like rows of fenceposts standing upright together, each designed to respond to a certain pattern of sound. Interesting that this action changes from mechanical to electrical activity to get signals to the brain. The miracle of hearing! Then think, we can remember what we’ve heard. Beethoven wrote his Ninth Symphony while deaf. My dad went to heaven over twenty years ago, and I can still remember his laugh.
But hearing and listening are not the same. We get our hearing checked, but perhaps we need to get our listening checked too. I wonder what I’m not hearing because I’m not listening. The Bible has some things to say about listening.
- Proverbs 21:13 If you stop your ears to the cries of the poor, your cries will go unheard, unanswered.
- Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the gift of hearing. I ask you to help me to listen, really listen to the pleasurable sounds you provide, to your still small voice, and to the needy cries of those around me. Amen.
Phyllis Clark Nichols grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in Georgia and weaves her Southern culture into character-driven stories that explore profound human questions. She is a classically trained musician and enjoys art, books, nature, cooking, travel, and ordinary people. After retiring as a cable network executive, Phyllis began leading mission teams to orphanages in Guatemala and now serves on three nonprofit boards, where she works with others who are equally passionate about bringing hope and light to those who need it most. Phyllis and her husband live in the Texas Hill Country.