“How Great Thou Art” is one of my favorite songs. The lyrics of the second verse say, “When through the woods and forest glades I wander, I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze;” Just that verse alone includes three of our senses.
Ears that hear and eyes that see—the Lord has made them both. Proverbs 20:10 NIV
For over fifty years I have mused on the senses we were given by God.
A high school teacher once assigned a theme to be written on “If you had to live without one of your senses which one would you choose and why”. I was told later I was the only one who had chosen hearing. Because I had a deaf brother and saw his ability to have a full life of friends, job, etc. it was really the only one I was acquainted with. We take our hearing for granted and the sounds around us are sometimes ignored. My brother once signed to me that he had never seen a woodpecker. Living in the woods we see them often, so it gave me great pleasure to be able to show one to him.
God gave us our senses for pleasure as well as protection. We usually are very much aware of the pleasure but how often do we stop to consider protection by certain senses. The enjoyment we have in being able to hear various styles of music, a baby’s coo or a loved one’s voice is indescribable but the sound of an urgent yell serves to protect us.
When one of our senses is not present it is said our others are far more acute. The driver’s license of a non-hearing person says they must have both outside and inside rear-view mirrors. We use doorbells, baby monitors, and alarm clocks to alert us but the deaf person has a version with blinking lights which can be easily seen through thin eyelids.
I think not being able to read a good book, see a vista from a mountain top or look into the deep blue eyes of my husband would be hard to give up. Glaucoma has robbed me of part of my vision so I cherish what I have left. Being dependent on others for driving, cooking or cleaning is not something I look forward to. The varied colors of springtime and fall are also something to be able to enjoy. Our sight protects us from many dangers we face each day. We could step out into traffic, fall off a cliff or just embarrass ourselves with a bad choice of clothing.
She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed. Matthew 9:21NIV
A comforting hug would be missed if we had no sense of touch. Textures are another pleasant part of our lives. Velvet, the bark of a tree or the soft skin of a newborn baby give us variety we all desire. The old fairy tale “The Princess and The Pea” is much exaggerated but even a tiny piece of something in our sock can create a sore spot. Feeling pain is a marvelous gift from God to protect us from major injuries that could lead to infections or other problems.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; Psalm 34:8a. NIV
Good food is what many of us would probably cut back on if we could not taste it. The seasonings we use daily to enhance our meals such as salt, pepper and sugar are such a vital part of our lives we cannot imagine doing without them. And let’s not forget cinnamon! I think of things such as tainted food, sour milk or jalapeńo peppers we are protected from by our sense of taste.
They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
Philippians 4:18a NIV
The first thing we usually do when we receive a bouquet of flowers is to smell them. A neighbor once gave me some roses from his greenhouse. Each color had its own distinct scent. That was a surprise to me. If we could not smell the odors around us we could possibly perish in a fire or begin to ingest something that could prove to be dangerous. It is another sense we have to serve as our protection.
Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:11NIV
Common sense is not one we usually list with this grouping but it could be the most important. I’m sure we have all done something that we later regretted.
Let us praise the Lord for the good senses he has given us and not take them for granted. Remember those who live without one or more of them and find ways to make their life more fulfilling.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Genesis 1:31a NIV