Written by Jireh, China. Adapted from this article (in simplified Chinese).
The year I turned 24, I became virtually deaf. I was talking to my family one night when I realised that I could only pick out two or three words in a sentence. The doctors diagnosed me with sensorineural hearing loss. This type of deafness is like having a bad signal/reception on your mobile and being unable to hear what’s being said.
The doctors suggested that I wear hearing aids, though they expected that I would eventually be unable to hear anything, as there was no cure for the disease.
For about a month, I was very sad and extremely terrified. I thought to myself, I am still young. There is so much I want to do but haven’t done. And now I am deaf? How will I live? How will I work? How will I communicate? I was working in sales, so not being able to hear and communicate made my current work setup impossible, and I had to immediately shift to online sales.
My loss of hearing only worsened the insecurities I’d had since childhood. As a kid, I was very introverted and had low self-esteem. My parents often quarrelled, and whenever I was on my own, I would feel very lonely and sorry for myself, thinking, “What is the point of me being born?” When my parents eventually separated, I was forced to leave the environment I grew up in, which affected me greatly.
But that year I lost my hearing was also the year I became a believer. I had been reading the Bible before, but it was while reading the book of Proverbs that I came to really know and believe in God. Then I started going to church.
Every time I felt pained and helpless because of my loss of hearing, God’s words would ring in my ears, bringing me comfort and holding up my fragile spirit:
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:5)
God’s love, mercy, and strength have accompanied me and given me faith and courage until today. Because of this, I believe that He will continue to take care of me, help me, and watch over me until I see Him face-to-face. This hope is sufficiently wonderful, and assures me that everything happens within God’s good will and plans.
From loss to gains
I decided to surrender to God my loss of hearing. I believe that God is all-powerful. He is in charge of all things, and therefore He knows better than I do why these things have to happen.
The greatest gain I got from this whole ordeal was gradually learning to enjoy the peace and quiet I had never experienced before. I began to distance myself from my old habit of being perpetually busy and flitting from one thing to another, to emerge from the haze of busyness and distractions and enjoy the goodness of peace.
Due to my loss of hearing, I eventually left my old circle of friends as we could no longer talk anymore, and they didn’t have the patience to learn a new way of communicating with me.
Through all of this, I’ve learned what it’s like to be His friend, to walk closely with Him. I would take off my hearing aid, shut the door, close my eyes, and savour my Bible reading, meditating on the words God has given me. I would also pray and draw near to Him at any time.
I’ve also been able to befriend deaf people. I’ve come to better understand the heartaches they face—the looks they receive, the way they’re rejected or misunderstood, the helplessness and constraints they felt.
With this perspective, my physical disability became a wonderful blessing. Though outwardly the body wastes away and moves closer to death, the spirit is renewed more and more each day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
No longer do I pity myself and feel the need to hide or cover up, letting down my hair to conceal the hearing aid. Instead, I now wear my hair up, and I’d be the first to greet the person I meet. Although I’d lost my hearing, it has moved me to open up more and to face and accept my current self.
If it wasn’t for Jesus and the Father’s love and life-giving words, my condition could have made me sink deeper into self-pity. I could have become anxious and depressed. But I’m thankful to have been spared from these, and truly, all glory belongs to God.
Five years after my diagnosis, I suddenly regained 90 per cent of my hearing within less than two weeks. It was as if the signal had been restored somehow, although not to the point of a full recovery. But compared to before, there was improvement with my hearing—having gone from hearing no sound at all to now being able to hear some sound.
I know that for me, it is God’s miraculous healing that has helped me recover. I did not have any treatment or medication, since there really wasn’t any option for that. Even the experts who were familiar with my case could find no explanation. Just as the Bible says, “It is Jesus’s name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed [this person], as you can all see” (Acts 3:16). All glory to God!