Finally in the darkness we heard her come. Rain didn't patter on the metal roof, it roared. It came cruising across the field one white sheet at a time, crashing against the sides of the house like a giant had thrown an equally gigantic bucket of water against us. It never came straight down.
Then the winds began to out-roar the rain. It seemed to start three or four sections over and come closer and closer and closer until it suddenly slammed us, only to start again. That's when the whumps and thumps started. The first time it was a limb, as big around as a man's thigh and about 8 feet long. It missed the house. The next time it was a slightly smaller limb and further from the house. The third time it was a clatter as a green branch, the looks and size of a shrub hit the carport roof and bounced off.
It continued all night. The house creaked, the metal screeched, and occasionally something we thought we had secured fell over or slid in the wind. At 1:10 AM the lights flashed four times, but stayed on. At 2:30 they went out completely.
With all that going on, we did not get much sleep that night, but as the morning hours began to dawn, we both finally slept the sleep of exhaustion, hours of preparation and tension both bringing us at least a couple hours of rest. We woke at 7 when the gray light finally gave us a view of the results. And then the sounds completely changed.
Chainsaws started almost immediately, clearing fallen trees from highways and driveways. Generators roared to life all around us. It isn't that we live that close to our neighbors, but generators are notoriously noisy monsters. Big utility trucks rumbled by on the highways, surveying the damage and planning how to fix it.
We got in the truck and tootled down the highway to check on our neighbors. We passed mounds of sawdust where fallen trees had already been removed and then came to the Olustee Creek and heard another new sound—water lapping over the bridge. It became apparent then that this would be a flood like we had never seen in our 35 years here. Within a day the bridges over the Santa Fe River were inundated and round hay bales in normally dry fields bobbed like corks in the swelling currents.
And gradually things returned to normal. By September 12, the birds were back, tweeting in what seemed like joy, flitting through our trees in numbers larger than we had ever seen. I filled the feeders and they came to celebrate with us—cardinals, chickadees, doves, titmice, blue jays and woodpeckers, and even a wild turkey that sauntered over from the woods to check out the remains of our now scraggly garden. The storm that had taken so many days to arrive and had flummoxed so many meteorologists as to its path was finally over.
It seems like nowadays everyone has something stuck in their ears. If it isn't an earbud, it's a phone. And at home, we seem afraid to let there be silence in our lives. The television is always on, or the radio, or the stereo. I wonder how many people hear what is happening in their world. I wonder how many were completely freaked out by the things they heard when the power died. This is life, people. This is what you are missing.
Hearing is important. Just ask my husband who began losing his at 24 and had his first hearing aid at 27. Now labeled "profoundly deaf," he can no longer hear when the engine makes a funny noise in the car and assess it. He cannot hear the smoke alarm or the ringing telephone. We cannot whisper at night when the lights are out. Once it's dark and he can no longer read my lips, we're done. He would have loved to hear his children's voices and understood what they were saying. And here the world goes, deafening itself to the sounds the Creator gave us to help us, to protect us, even to save us.
And the Spirit bade me go with them, making no distinction. And these six brethren also accompanied me; and we entered into the man's house: and he told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, Send to Joppa, and fetch Simon, whose surname is Peter; who shall speak unto you words, whereby you shall be saved, you and all your house. (Acts 11:12-14)
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Rom 10:17)
It isn't just modern electronics that steal our hearing, it's the machinations of Satan who lies to us, who uses our culture and our selfishness against us. That passage in Romans is followed by something we need to hear as well. "Haven't they heard? Yes, they have. Didn't they understand?" but the answer to the problem is given in verse 20: All day long I have held my hands out to a disobedient and contrary people."
Open your ears to the Word of God and listen. Those verses may have been said about the Jews, but that doesn't mean they cannot be true about us as well.
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. (Isa 55:1-3)