Have you ever heard a real loud bang? One of those bangs that made you exhale and your ears ring? If you have, you also noticed that for a while afterward, all you could hear was a ringing in your ears. All other sounds seemed drowned out or simply deafened. Someone could have stood in front of you but you weren't able to hear them.
When traumatic events happen, our senses at that moment become acutely sharp (flight or fight response) or dulled. Most of us have heard speakers address the flight-or-fight response to extraordinary events. Not many of us have heard people address the dulling effect or the ringing-of-the-ears effect.
When we face traumatic events, usually our senses sharpen, and we see, hear, and process our situations faster and more clearly. In our spiritual lives, the same principle holds true. In times of trouble, we become acutely aware of the spiritual world, the presence of God, and at times the presence of maleficent entities or forces.
Yet, sometimes traumatic events hit us completely unaware, and we are left with that ringing-sense. We stutter in speech, we are slow to react to what is being demanded of us, and a fog-of-war descend over us. Most of us have seen those instances in people around us. Someone suddenly dies, and those close to them seem to continue life as if nothing happened. People yell at those that 'ring' and yet they keep walking as if nothing is happening. They seem to get lost on a road they've traveled for years.
In our devotional lives, we sometimes experience the same spiritual ringing. Some people experience it when a leader falls into sin, or a brother or sister in the Lord betrays your trust. The ringing-sensation is actually more common than we might expect. Unfortunately, those that have a "ringing in their spirit" often become the first casualties of war. Why? because there was no-one that understood what was happening to them. There was no-one that took the time to lead them by the hand.
So how do we deal with it? First, we need to accept that suffering this effect is not sinning, but a human response to traumatic and extraordinary events.
Then, we need to recognize this "ringing" effect on those around us. We need to realize that no matter how urgently we tell them what to do, or what we believe God is saying to them, they are not going to hear it at that moment. They are not trying to avoid us or ignore us. We need to slow down with them. Sit next to them. Give them something to eat. Wrap a warm blanket around them. Pray for them without any expectation of engagement or participation. Stand with them. Ask them where they want to go. They might answer you and allow you to guide them.
Next, we need to recognize this "ringing" effect on us. We need to acknowledge that we feel overwhelmed. We need to recognize that we see other people talking but cannot hear them speaking. We need to ask someone to guide us by the hand. We need to know that even old familiar ways of doing things are going to get us lost. We need to realize that the "ringing" sensation will pass with time and that we do not have to fear when we experience it. We need to wave to the first person we see to help them get us out of harm’s way. These suggestions are as true in life as they are in our spiritual lives.
Sometimes we will get hit so hard that our spiritual ears ring. It will feel like we are not able to hear the Lord clearly (trust though, He will never leave you). In those moments though, lean on others you trust. His people will help you out. I pray that we might recognize when we are spiritually "ringing" and also see those around us that might be suffering the same effects.
My prayer: Lord Jesus, may we help those that have been blindsided by the devil, by sickness, by trauma, or by events beyond their control. I pray that we might be available to them, or our brothers and sisters be available to us when we hear the "ringing". Amen