Many of us probably are familiar with the story of American author, political and women’s suffrage activist and lecturer Helen Keller. Helen was born in 1880. When she was 18 months old she contracted what the doctor called “brain fever”. As a result of this she was struck blind, deaf and mute. Growing up she became a girl that often got out of control. She would smash dishes and lamps and terrorize the whole household with her screaming and temper tantrums. Relatives regarded her as a monster and should be put in an institution. But what could you do if you were the family? Yell at her?
It is really obvious that it does not do any good to yell at something that can’t hear. But how often do we do just that? The lawnmower that fails to start. Or how yelling about that annoying computer? Or try talking to someone who does not understand English. The tendency is to talk louder as if it will help them understand you.
In the same way telling a blind person to see just does not makes sense. It seems rather foolish. But this is what God is saying in the Bible from Isaiah 42:18, “Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind. that ye may see”. But what God is talking about is spiritual blindness and spiritual deafness.
Picture driving along a busy multi lane highway when a snow whiteout reduces visibility to zero. Unable to see motorists continue to drive blindly ahead, and the results are often disastrous Such as a local 96 car pileup that resulted because drivers could not see.
Many people today are spiritually driving blindly and headed for certain destruction. However, like a good doctor who sees a patient on a self destructive course God took the initiative. Through His Son Jesus when we put our faith and trust in Him we are given eyes and ears that can see and hear spiritually.
For Helen Keller there were some very instrumental people who helped her to see….not physically, but spiritually. There was her teacher Anne Sullivan known to many as the “miracle worker” and “one of the greatest teachers of all time”. Anne Sullivan became blind herself since she was five. Over time she got through to this angry little blind, deaf and mute girl named Helen Keller and taught her to communicate. In the end Helen Keller became the first ever deaf blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. And it was Reverend Philips Brooks (best known today for writing the lyrics of the Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem) who introduced the Christian faith to this young lady. And through that faith our world has been blessed with many beautiful inspirational quotes that we know today.