Hearing loss would seem a curse to a musician, but it could be a gift.

At age 30, Beethoven complained that he was losing his hearing. “From a distance, I do not hear the high notes of the instruments and the singers’ voices.”

It enraged him. At times he even contemplated suicide.

He would lay on the floor with a pencil clenched in his teeth. With it, he would bang on the keys to get the vibration through the pencil. Some pianos he left in ruins.

It would prove to be a gift. After his hearing loss, Beethoven created his best work, including his Ninth Symphony.

One scholar wrote: “It seems a mystery that Beethoven became more original and brilliant as a composer in inverse proportion to his ability to hear. Deafness freed Beethoven as a composer because he no longer had society’s soundtrack in his ears.”

The noise of our world rattles our souls. We cannot think, grow, or respond to God over the din of competing voices.

Jesus knew no soul develops in the noise. With crowds thronging and requests flowing constantly, he told his disciples:

“And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (Mark 6:31)

In our world, we need to turn off our phones, leave Netflix dark, and spend time alone with the Master.

As Beethoven learned, it might be what our souls need most.

-Robert G. Taylor-