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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)

TITLE: Patient Endurance
By Beth Muehlhausen
08/22/08


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Patient Endurance

Head splitting whistles - shriller-than-usual Nazi sirens that threaten to root out and arrest the innocent - aggressively fill up space, forcing other sounds into submission. They terrorize like rabid dogs intent upon attack, demanding nothing less than complete surrender.

What ARE these whistles?

Has back-feed in a sound system gone berserk? Has some noisy toy fire truck gotten stuck in the “on” position?

Patience, patience. Sometimes answers come slowly.

Shhhhh …

… I’ll tell you …

Quiet.

(silence)

All right, here’s my explanation.

Every day of my life, twenty-four hours every day and seven days a week, I live with an inner terrorist – a noise the medical community calls “tinnitus” which is something akin to Chinese water torture, only auditory. I constantly hear whistling noises, although no one else can hear them. They’ve been active within the confines of my skull in one form or another for thirty-seven of my fifty-nine years.

When this uninvited visitor first appeared I thought crickets from a Midwestern hay field had shown up in the mountains of Colorado. Unsatisfied with a life of mediocrity, over time the crickets became louder. Their maturing voices grew hoarse, rough, and insistent.

It was only the beginning.

One night years later I lay in bed and stared at tree shadows stretching across the ceiling while re-thinking an article I’d read. “Sometimes people go crazy – even commit suicide – when their tinnitus becomes unreasonably loud and grating.” Communication was already excruciatingly difficult since the noises in my head masked many speech sounds, particularly consonants. What next?

Time passed and the noise magnified. I cried out to God: “It’s too loud; too shrill! Take this away, Lord! Heal me!”

Friends grimaced their condolences and patted me on the back. A few confessed their own versions of suffering and offered sympathy. Prayer partners anointed and prayed over me. I begged God for healing. I feared insanity.

Once while despairing in the midst of a meltdown, the noise seemed insufferable. I cried out to God again: “How can I survive this?” The same question peppered the throne room of heaven on numerous days and nights. “How, how HOW?”

I had no choice but to respect His right to remain silent.

Years passed. The escalating, torturous tones threatened to drown out the world around me, crush my spirit, and deposit me in a garbage heap of disintegrating sorrow. Could there be a turning point – a breakthrough? Was I doomed?

For a long time I’d hoped for healing but also resisted the noise. I’d held it at arm’s length, tried to run from it. Suddenly the truth jumped out of hiding. God allowed this unwanted intruder! Must I accept and even embrace it as my own? If so, Lord, give me grace!

The whistling noises continued to diversify in pitch and intensify in volume. Even the latest-and-greatest technologically superior hearing aids couldn’t compensate adequately. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, I began to seek a new personal goal: supernatural hope that would match the intensity of my trial.

Tinnitus was not an enemy sniper assigned to constantly shoot my heart full of holes so I might slowly bleed to death internally – the slow, agonizing demise of the hopeless. Rather, it was an agent of change, a messenger offering to lead me to new insights, new dependence on my heavenly Father, and then into ministry as a Good Samaritan.

Would I respond?

I began to read scriptures and interpret emotions and everyday circumstances through the lens of hope. Transformation meant being mysteriously and holistically “in Christ;” sharing in His suffering and redemption.

The outstretched wing of my Father sheltered me. I learned it was possible to be fractured in body but whole in spirit.

I’ve lived with noise in my head for almost four decades now, and marvel at the current measure of grace poured out for me – a cascading, powerful waterfall of love and mercy, enough to surpass the intensity of my trial. Every day the chronic onslaught of raucous chatter continues in my head, I am tempted by anguish, and I succumb to the greater power: God’s grace.

Someday the noise will disappear into thin air when I pass from this life to the next, if not before. Until then I live with patient endurance and hope, running the race set out before me.

“ … hope that is seen is no hope at all … But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24b-25


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This article has been read 831 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dan Blankenship 08/28/08
Excellent writing. The amazing thing is that we currently have about 10 crickets in our walls that will NOT stop making noise. It was like getting sound with your story.

I loved this part:

[The same question peppered the throne room of heaven on numerous days and nights. “How, how HOW?”]

Loved that part.

This was the first story I read this week, and if this is an example of how good they are going to be, then I have a lot of good reading in front of me.

Once again,
great job.

Sincerely,
Dan Blankenship


Shirley McClay 08/28/08
I get that ringing in my ear and I can't imagine having it all the time.

I love how you started it and got me hooked by wondering where you were going with it.
Emily Gibson08/29/08
Powerful story of how suffering draws one closer to God. May your deep abiding faith sustain you. Excellent for this topic.
Melanie Kerr 08/29/08
You have written the story of my life! You have written it far more eloquently than I could have done!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/31/08
"Fractured in body, but whole in spirit" What a wonderful expression. That could be applied to all of us in some way or another. I love the way you sought for God to use even this tribulation in your life. Very well written. God bless you.
Arlene Showalter 08/31/08
Joseph told his brothers "you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good."
Only GOD can cause so much good from so much bad!
Thank you for sharing your suffering and victory!
God is Awesome!
Dee Yoder 08/31/08
Wonderfully powerful and hope-filled message in this entry! I really desire to get to that same point; grace and hope...enduring the unchangeable...reaching out instead of coning myself to my inward complaints, in spite of the illnesses.
Patricia Turner08/31/08
"I had no choice but to respect His right to remain silent." Good point to remember when we face these trials. Great writing and a good take on this weeks topic.
Betsy Markman09/01/08
Thank you for sharing how God can make the unbearable beautiful.
Clyde Blakely 09/03/08
Mr. Tinnitus, I've known him well for almost as long as you have. Occassionally I hear bells ringing or birds chirping - ones I can not hear naturally with others - and they can't hear mine. So I enjoy my own private ringing and singing to make up for not sharing in theirs.

I had a hearing test a few years ago and was told I was "profoundly deaf in the upper frequencies, legally deaf" and there was nothing they could do. I went out in the car and started to cry - I was not able to hear my granddaughters talk to me. I looked up to see a bumper sticker - "Don't sweat the small stuff" and realized that no matter how loud the tinnitus or loss of hearing, "I can still hear God".

Thank you for sharing and I look forward to listening together to the angels sing. I believe we will enjoy it more than the Christians! God bless.