My son is learning to speak right now. Not talking words yet but he has certainly discovered his voice. All day long I listen to him as he babbles away. We sit together in the mornings, eye to eye, and he tells me stories. I believe that he truly thinks he’s talking to me, and in a way he probably is. I watch as he discovers the world around him and then tells me what he thinks of it all.
As a parent, it brings me such joy to watch him grow and discover, to learn to speak and to use his voice. Right now his voice is so small and tiny but each day I listen as he becomes more assertive and more passionate. Oh the things this little boy will say. What truth will come forth from his lips one day?
As a writer I believe there is power in words. As a speaker I believe there is power in voice.
In the beginning God said “let there be light” and there was. It was his voice that brought life. Imagine what His voice must have sounded like as it hovered over the mountains, calling them into being. Did He create with the booming voice of authority or the gentle melodic hush of a whisper? Imagine the verbs. Imagine the nouns. What was it like, to hear the sound of life for the very.first.time?
It was his voice that carved out the depths of the waters and raised up the heights of the peaks. It was his voice that called out into the wilderness, teeming with life, bursting with green, twittering with song.
It was his voice in the burning bush- calling for boldness, calling for freedom.
It was his voice on the road. The voice that changed the heart of a man. The voice that ignited a conversation. The voice that birthed a revolutionary.
It is the red letters on the page and the young boy teaching his elders in the temple. It is the line in the sand and the grace for the woman in adultery.
It is the cry from the Cross. Poured out in totality.
It is the voice, filled with breath and alive, walking in the garden and comforting a woman named Mary.
So often we encounter God’s voice in our lives. Yet far more often we fail to recognize it. I am certain of three specific times that I have heard God’s voice to clearly: when I chose to return to my faith, taking a risk and dedicate my life to living His Way, when I was challenged to speak up about human trafficking and take action against the injustice of this world, and when I wasn’t sure about becoming a mother and God gently reminded me that children could be the ones who offer us a new start in the world.
Each time His voice brought redemption. Each time His voice brought life.
Because we are made in His image, our voices also rise. Our voices can bring life, redemption, liberty and transformation, depending on how we choose to use them.
Proverbs 31:8-9 says:
8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
It’s a powerful part of the famous Proverbs 31 verse and it takes great wisdom to know when to speak up and what to say.
When we see injustice in the world and choose to remain silent, then we are standing on the side of the oppressor.
When we see someone hurting and choose to remain silent, we lose an opportunity to build a bridge, bring comfort and speak life into someone’s life.
When we hear God calling us to step out and take a risk on our lives, we miss the next thing that He is leading us to.
It is often said that public speaking is the most common fear yet I would argue that missing out on the best of this life is far more terrifying.
I don’t want to live lukewarm, in the shallow end of life where the water is calm and comfortable. I want to be brave enough to step out onto the waves, where Jesus is, where the risk is great, where the comfort is gone and where we see miracles happen.
So we must learn to wield our voices courageously, life depends on it.