He pointed to heaven and then folded his hands in prayer. His message was clear, even without words.
This was an encounter my husband had recently with a man who was cutting the neighbor’s yard. He caught the attention of my husband and promptly started to share about the Lord in sign language. This man was unable to speak audibly but out of a heart overflowing with love for Jesus, he used every opportunity to share about him to anyone who would listen, anyone who would take the time to understand his signs.
As my husband shared this story with me, I had to do some examining of my own heart. I have a voice, am I as eager and passionate to share about Jesus with those I come in contact with?
Psalm 19:1-4 says “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
They have no speech, no words, no sound and yet they proclaim His glory, their voice is heard throughout the earth. Most of us have been given speech, words, sounds, gifts that should do the same wherever we are! Even if we don’t, the rest of God’s creation will not withhold their praise.
Do you remember when they told Jesus to tell the people to be quiet? Jesus responded by saying, ““I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40) I wonder if Jesus had this Psalm 19 mind when he answered the Pharisees.
The word voice comes from the Latin root vox, which is related to vocare. The word vocation gets its root from this same word. Jo Saxton writes that “our sense of purpose and vocation is an integral part of our God-given design. From the beginning, God’s people had a twofold purpose: to know God intimately, but also to represent Him in the world.” I love these words of Jo, a wonderful reminder of why it is important for us to use our voice, whether audibly or with sign language as that humble and passionate man. When we know Him, we can represent Him in the world.
This is also why I believe the enemy tries to silence our voices, our “identity in action” as Jo puts it. He will do his best to silence us with embarrassment, self doubt, shame, fear, bullies or whatever other tactic he thinks can find its way under your armor. We begin to believe that we have nothing to offer, nothing to say.
Can He see me?
On the other hand, the pain, loss and discomfort of this tough season may have stolen the last ounce of praise from your lips as you try to whisper above the chaotic noise of what looks nothing like the life you had envisioned. You wonder if He even sees you in the blinding storm. Yet, you know, deep down that this is not it, this is not the end. My friend, the same God who saw Hagar in the desert, sees you too. He sees and hears you, all of you.
We see David in Psalm 42 and 43 pouring out his lamentations to God, in the midst of those asking, “Where is your God?” Yet he asks himself a remarkable question. “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5, 11 & 43:5)
Moreover, he didn’t say it once, we see him making this exact declaration three different times between these two chapters. I believe he kept declaring it until something shifted in his situation.
Let’s look at this in several other translations and paraphrase versions:
So then, my soul, why would you be depressed? Why would you sink into despair? Just keep hoping and waiting on God, your Savior. For no matter what, I will still sing with praise, for you are my saving grace! (TPT)
Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. (MSG)
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become restless and disturbed within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. (AMP)
“I will still sing with praise”
“Soon I’ll be praising again”
“For I shall again praise Him”
“For I will yet praise Him”
Wherever you are today, I pray that you will find your voice, find your vocare and offer praise to Him. So whether it’s with your actions or your speech, may you declare His goodness to someone you meet today. He is your saving grace.