As to that comment, it is just a myth. It isn’t that suddenly your hearing will improve when you can no longer see. It’s that suddenly you use it to better advantage. When you could see who was approaching you, you didn’t need to hear the door open, judge the weight of the steps and length of the stride, and determine whose voice it was. Now you must, so you do. Even still sighted, I have always seen more than Keith has. When you have poor vision, you concentrate harder and take care to notice more. I see signs he never does. I notice the color of cars and houses. I know two oak trees flank a driveway, not just one, and I remember that when we go back to someone’s home the second time. He just looks for the address, numbers I can never see from the car.
All of that made me wonder about our spiritual senses. Did you know you can find all five mentioned in a figurative context in the Bible?
Jesus had a lot to say about people who are spiritually blind. For judgment came I into this world, that they that see not may see; and that they that see may become blind. Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said unto him, Are we also blind? Jesus said unto them, If you were blind, you would have no sin: but now you say, We see: your sin remains, John 9:39-41.
The prophets also talk about spiritual blindness. It isn’t just that some people cannot comprehend God’s word—they blind themselves to it when they do not want to see what it says. Peter also mentions people who are spiritually near-sighted in 2 Pet 1:9. You can find more passages about spiritual blindness than any of the other senses, and they should scare us all to death. Be careful when, in a spiritual discussion, you find yourself uttering the words, “I just can’t see that.” It may be that you have become spiritually blind.
You could make a similarly long list of passages commanding us to “hear,” “listen,” “hearken,” and “take heed.” Jesus said in the context of the parable of the sower, “Take heed what you hear,” and also, “Take heed HOW you hear.”
Just as some are “hard of hearing” physically, the prophets and preachers dealt with those who were hard of hearing spiritually. Jeremiah and Ezekiel both were told to go preach to a people who would “refuse to hear.” Do you think it cannot happen to us? The Hebrew writer warns, “See that you do not refuse him who speaks,” 12:25, and Paul warns of those who have “itching ears.” Keith has special medicine for exactly that thing. Too bad it doesn’t work on the spiritually deaf as well.
Do you think you can’t have a spiritual problem with your nose? For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:15-16. The point is exactly the same—if you don’t like what becoming a follower of Christ means, it will stink to you, but to those who understand, who comprehend, who hear and see the true nature of things, he will smell wonderful.
The Hebrew writer talks about those who have “tasted the heavenly gift…and the goodness of the word of God” 6:4,5. If you don’t know people who think the Bible is anything but good, who believe that it is, in fact, the source of human misery, you haven’t tried too hard to spread it. Always there are some who take a taste and spit it out with disgust—the same people who cannot see, cannot hear, and cannot smell the sweet aroma of Christ.
And always there are those who cannot feel, whose hearts will never be pricked by the gospel, who are numb to its appeals. Paul told the Athenians at the Areopagus, And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, Acts 17:26-27. Not many of those people groped their way to the Lord in the end, but a few did.
Did you notice something about all those spiritual senses? When a physical sense leaves you, you learn to make better use of the ones that remain. Unfortunately, when a spiritual sense leaves, the rest seem to follow suit. If you won’t see, then you won’t hear. You won’t let the grace of God touch your heart. You won’t enjoy the smell of his sacrifice nor the taste of his love--if you have tasted that the Lord is gracious, 1 Pet 2:3.
Can you imagine a more miserable existence than never seeing a sunset, never hearing the sweet coo of a baby, never tasting a ripe strawberry, never smelling the yeasty aroma of bread fresh from the oven, or never feeling the warm sun on your back? That’s exactly the kind of lives people live when their spiritual senses don’t work. But you can fix them all with one easy cure—heal your heart. God told Ezekiel that if the people repented he would give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26. Once your heart can be touched, the other senses will come flooding back into your life, almost overwhelming you with new sensations.
The five physical senses are a wonderful blessing from God. The spiritual ones are even better.
In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 29:18-19.