Our theme this month has many implications. When I began to draft this post, it was difficult to choose concepts from the many meanings of the power of words.
Our words may be easy, but they are never neutral.
In our April blog posts on our names, one theme that resonated with me was how others spoke our names. Parents often spoke our names in tenderness. Other children made jokes of our names. Sometimes, as Katie Gerke wrote… “My name was always a good yelling name when my mom wanted me to come into the house…She definitely meant business when she added on the Gerke. “KATIE MARTHA GERKE GET IN THE HOUSE RIGHT NOW!”
We can never get our words back – for good or ill.
Charles Simeon (1759-1836), a pastor in England, faced opposition from his congregation. They spread rumors about him and rejected his ministry. But Simeon, filled with the Spirit, coped with gossip by never believing the rumors unless they were true. His aim was “always to believe, that if the other side were heard, a very different account would be given.”
Sometimes we experience a poverty of words
When I arrived in Colombia to teach missionary children, I didn’t speak Spanish, other than to greet people. I felt helpless, reduced to early childhood when I didn't have words to describe things, to express my feelings, much less talk about abstract ideas.
On the other hand, trying to express feelings of wonder leaves me speechless. The wonder of God’s Creation on my early morning walks. A novel experience. Something surprising. Something unexpected. God’s new words to me.
God gives us words beyond our own wisdom.
I once read the story of Isobel Kuhn (1901-1957), a missionary to China, who was to give a talk for students at a Moody Bible Institute party. She ran out of time to prepare. Instead of going to the dinner, she stayed in her room to pray and meditate on her message.
She later said, "Quietly, point-by-point, (God) outlined for me the devotional message I needed....It was an unforgettable experience and an unforeseen lesson."
20 years later, Isobel overheard someone say that a message from some party years ago stood out in his memory. He described what Isobel had said and then added, "I forget who led it, but...the devotional message blessed my soul. I've never forgotten it."
Isobel didn’t reveal her identity, but she was thrilled that God had used her words in such a powerful way.
God, the Living Word, through the power of the Spirit, is the source of our gifts of words as we write.
Valerie Ronald wrote: “The Word, that Divine Expression, Jesus Christ, has been spoken into the world…As writers who are Christians, we have been gifted with a sacred task. It is not to write, but to listen. Listen for the stirrings of God in all the world around us, then let that sound become a symphony of words declaring His glory.”
May each of us live a deep purpose to speak of the love of God and to love others above all else. May our words shine as a bright light to the world around us – a brightness that exudes joy, peace and comfort that can only come from knowing the heart of our great God. Shannon Nickerson
My prayer for you that you will praise God for giving you the gift of words and language in all their beauty and power. May you use these gifts wisely and for God's glory, to heal, build, to encourage others.
“The preparations of the heart belong to us but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord” Proverbs 16:1
Note: A special thanks to our InScribe writer who inspired this post:
Valerie Ronald wrote how God inspires her writing: “I enjoy the mystery of how God guides my writing…I am always energized as I write, knowing the living Word is inspiring my words.”