Grayson Clamp was born deaf. He’s not anymore. That’s because after three years of experiencing the world in a soundless vacuum, an auditory brainstem implant changed his world. When I first saw his story, I was touched by the boy’s reaction to hearing his father speak for the first time. If you’ve seen the video, you’re probably picturing it now: saucer eyes, a look of wonder, and an instant of simultaneous questioning and recognition, as if his father’s voice had been there all along but it was just now that he really heard it. It’s a priceless moment.
(Check out the clip here)
Years earlier, Len Clamp and his wife adopted Grayson. They chose him, deficiencies and all. So years later when Grayson finally had the ability to hear, Len Clamp’s “parental instinct” led him to spontaneously say, “Daddy loves you.” I wonder how many times he’d vocalized the same words over the first three years of his son’s life. A hundred? A thousand? And if his son had never heard them, I have no doubt that Len would have gone on repeating those words the rest of his life, as a loving father would do.
But in that moment those words gained life. They united a father to his child in a way that only those three words can do.
In John 19:30 Jesus sends the same message using three different words: “It is finished.”On the cross he poured out his spirit so that we might know life. He sent out a call so profound that all his children for ages to come would know He loved them. That He chose them. That he purchased them at a great price.
But just like Len Clamp’s words, Christ’s message is one-sided unless his child reacts. A gift already given must still be claimed. His child must rejoice when he hears his Father’s voice saying, “Daddy loves you.” The good news is that, like Len Clamp, God continues to whisper, to cajole, to beckon. His words are there even when you can’t hear them.
I think of Len’s words, “We chose him, you know? With adoption, you go out and you pick the child. And we picked him.” How profound. How like our Maker, who died for us while we were still sinners, who adopted us before we could hear his voice. He had already claimed us. He wanted us in the family.
Grayson Clamp still has years of therapy ahead of him. He must learn to cognitively process the verbal cues he now hears. He will struggle. He will falter. But even so, Grayson knows one thing. His Daddy loves him, and that’s reason enough to fight on.