• Sarah Raad


There is no greater love than this—that a man should lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13).

Expulsion of Adam and Eve Garden of Paradise (Paradise Lost) (Alexandre Cabanel)

My father is aged in his early seventies. When he was a young man – straight after he graduated from the University of Sydney as a civil engineer – my father got a job working for a dredging company and travelled to Saudi Arabia for this work.

That was in the 1970s and during that time – and possibly also today in Saudi Arabia, though I have not verified that assumption – work health and safety considerations were almost non-existent... And so, while my father worked in that job during those early years of his youth, he did not use personal protective equipment – other than a hardhat and some steel-capped boots.

This meant that my father spent all day – every working day – in the midst of the very very loud noise of the dredging machinery. The noise has had a very significant and had a lasting impact on my father’s life because his hearing was significantly impacted. My father has been almost deaf in one ear and has experienced significant hearing loss in the other ear for my entire life – and most of his life too.

This meant that when I was a little girl, if I walked over to my father to whisper something in his ear, he would bend down, listen intently, and patiently wait for me to finish before saying – with a big grin – “Sorry, but that was the wrong ear, try again in the other ear…”

In the last ten years, the hearing-aid technology has changed dramatically, and now my father can wear hearing-aids to help him to hear. And this change has been remarkable. Now – even when there is background noise – my father can hear what people are saying to him and can interact with them without asking them to repeat themselves various times in one conversation…

The other day, I saw my father, and noticed that he was struggling to hear. And so, I asked him where his hearing aids were. He replied that because he knew that the children would be enjoying themselves and screeching a lot that day, he had decided to remove them because he found the noise with the hearing aids very overwhelming.

And I have been reflecting very much on this because it reminds me very much about the way that we respond to the PERFECT love of God…

You see, our fallen human nature means that just as my father is deaf to sound, we are deaf to the TRUE nature of the love of God… We cannot “hear” God’s love in our lives very well because Original Sin severed our connection to God because we rejected Him through the sin of pride and disobedience and because of that severed connection, we struggle to recognise God’s love in our lives…

And when we do experience the true love of God, it is too intense for us, and like my father, we try to take the hearing aids out and dull the sound…

For my Beloved told us…

“‘I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me. You must go on living in My love. If you keep My commandments you will live in My love just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and live in His love. I have told you this so that you can share My joy, and that your happiness may be complete. This is My commandment: that you love each other as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this—that a man should lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I tell you to do. I shall not call you servants any longer, for a servant does not share his master’s confidence. No, I call you friends, now, because I have told you everything that I have heard from the Father.” (John 15:9-15).

For love – God’s perfect love – is sacrifice, and that is hard for a fallen soul like mine to hear…

And so, as the children quieten down and get ready to go home, and my father puts his hearing-aids back into his ears, I give thanks to my God – who loves me with infinite perfection – even when I cannot hear His PERFECT love… Even when I cannot hear…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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