For several days I have tried to articulate this but I just can’t seem to get the words out.
I know that you know.
I know that I don’t have to say a word and that you are already aware of what’s on my mind and in my heart. But I haven’t been able to really rest because there is the something inside of me that needs to be released.
The reason I’ve just got to spit it out is because of what you’ve impressed on me lately about my voice and your words.
I know you have been trying to show me how to let those two things be the same thing.
You started this lesson back in February when you spoke to me through a visiting minister at a local revival. It was the message from Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came with what appeared to be tongues of fire and somehow broke the language barrier so that the your gospel message could be shared to everyone there. The minister said it was kind of like eating jalapeno peppers. Your eyes water and you can’t help but say out loud to everyone around just how hot and powerful it really is.
A couple of months ago you put some more of your Words in front of me that made me take notice again. It wasn’t from a workbook or anything I had been studying. You surprised me out of the blue with a message from a speaker on TV. I haven’t heard too many messages from 2 Chronicles, and especially not on TV. Well, you’ll do anything to get me to listen, won’t you? That whole story about Jehoshaphat leading Judah and Jerusalem to defeat a vast enemy army by using their voices as their only weapon, and I believe you said they used LOUD voices, well, it has been ringing loudly in my head ever since.
And you know me so well. You know I have to read and re-read and study and stew and steep on things. So you brought that visiting minister back to town this week to speak at a different location, had him preach that same sermon from Acts 2, and made sure I was there to hear it again. You certainly are thorough, aren’t you? I think you must really want me to get the message about the tongues of fire and about saying out loud whatever words you put in my mouth.
Tongues of fire.
And you didn’t stop there. I turned on the TV this morning and heard another message about words. The broadcast was a re-run. I had seen and heard this one before too, but you knew it would fit the theme of what you’re trying to get across to me right now, so you played it again too. You know the story, the one from Acts 16 where a possessed woman was speaking the right words but they were coming from the wrong source and being used for the wrong purpose. Paul and Silas ended up getting thrown in jail because they used your name to cut off her evil source and power. And then Paul and Silas spoke up. In prison, they prayed and sang out loud and the others listened. And lives were changed.
People are listening.
The thing is, I’m more comfortable with the listening part. You know better than anyone that I’m basically a quiet person. I am a bit noise intolerant. I don’t like the volume level on the TV very loud and I don’t like my music loud. I don’t do a lot of talking. Silence doesn’t bother me. You know all that. My ears are my dominant sensory organ. So why do you keep bringing up the issue with my mouth?
You don’t seem to want to let me forget what happened a couple of weeks ago when there were extra people at my house. They brought a significant amount of their own personal drama with them. I tried to do what I thought was the best thing by keeping my mouth shut and just listening as they all worked through their issues that were really none of my business anyway.
You know better than any of us that they were struggling with a decision that would affect several lives. You and I had several conversations about them and I asked you to show up in their lives and speak to them so that they could hear and respond.
They were in a vulnerable state and I didn’t want to inappropriately influence any decision they might make. You knew that too. I tried very hard to look for the positives in it all and to speak only those things or else just be quiet.
But after about the second day, something happened. We sat through an entire meal without me saying a word. Then, the control was no longer mine and you took over. Words started coming out of my mouth that had not been processed through my read and re-read schedule yet. The words were not planned or premeditated even though I’d had a couple of days to mull it over. They just came out.
They were words of hope when there seems to be no hope. They were words about how much Jesus loved us to sacrifice his life for us. They were words of your awesomeness beyond our comprehension. They were words about your covenant love.
I have no idea what I said. I just know that it was you and not me.
You used me. You used me because I let you take over. I see now that that is what you are after. It thrills me that you can do something so amazingly loud with my quiet-natured self.
I want that every day. It scares me to death, but I want it.
I said it.
I want it. All the time. I want it.
To your praise and glory. Amen.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:14-15