Americans have a constitutional right to free speech. Implicit in this right is the hope to be heard. Why would one speak if there is no hope of being heard?
A High School Revelation
In my junior year of high school, I was not a good student. I only studied what interested me—band and English. The rest of my classes were a waste of my 16 year-old time. So, I had to see the counselor. She was a nice lady and I enjoyed talking to her; I could really string her along and she probably knew what I was doing all the time.
The summer before I turned 16 I started seriously seeking God’s will for my life. I felt it had something to do with music and writing (band and English!) but I knew the rest of it—chemistry, Algebra II, American History—had nothing to do with it. When I was blowing smoke about how I didn’t enjoy those classes, etc., the nice lady interrupted me and asked, “Well, Steve, what do you want to do with your life?”
In one of those moments one lives in for the rest of one’s life, I knew with exceptional clarity why I was on the earth. At the same moment I thought it and said it: “I want to tell somebody something!” We both sat back and there was a moment of silence. I remember nothing else about that conference but I have never forgotten that revelation.
All of Us
This isn’t just for me. All of us are called to tell somebody something—and we should expect to be heard! I see three “somebodies” for each of us:
We need to speak to ourselves. Internal dialogue is a fact of life for each of us. We tell ourselves things all the time. We must be so careful to speak to ourselves with the voice of faith and not of fear, of righteous things and not rotten things. Why? Because we are heard—down deep where only our voice and the voice of the Spirit are heard.
We need to speak to others. “We’ve a story to tell to the nations,” we sometimes sing and it is true. It may seem that we are not heard, but of this we can be certain—the Holy Spirit is anointing the ears of those we speak to as well as the lips with which we speak.
We need to speak to God in praise, prayer and worship. The Lord loves the sound of our voice! Another song says, “He’s as close as the mention of His name.” He is our most devoted listener!
A Course of Action
Then I had a course of action. It was simple. If I was going to tell somebody something
- I was going to have to find something out!
- I was going to have to learn how to speak and to write.
That was my plan: learn important things that people needed to know and develop the skills to tell them what I had learned.
Though absolutely unspoken in this crucial scene, there was an expectation that I would be heard. If not what was the point?
Think of the wonder of it:
- The silent cry of the believer’s breaking heart echoes through heaven.
- The tears we shed capture His attention.
- Our prayers are collected for His keeping.
When we pray, we are telling someone something—The Lord Himself!–and we can be sure that we are heard!
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger; do not punish me in your wrath. Have pity on me, Lord, for I am weak; heal me, Lord, for my bones are racked. My spirit shakes with terror; how long, O Lord, how long? Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me for your mercy’s sake. For in death no one remembers you; and who will give you thanks in the grave? I grow weary because of my groaning; every night I drench my bed and flood my couch with tears. My eyes are wasted with grief and worn away because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all evildoers, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies shall be confounded and quake with fear; they shall turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
Psalm 10:16-18 NIV
The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
Psalm 102:18-22 NIV
Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord; “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord .
Isaiah 6:8-9 NIV
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” He said, “Go and tell this people:
Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.
Song of the Telling
We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations
Composer: H. Ernest Nichol
1.We’ve a story to tell to the nations
that shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light, a story of peace of light.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright,
And Christ’s great Kingdom shall come to earth,
The Kingdom of love and light.
2.We’ve a song to be sung to the nations
That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
A song that shall conquer evil
And shatter the spear and sword,
And shatter the spear and sword.
3.We’ve a message to give the nations
That the Lord who reigneth above
Hath sent us His Son to save us,
And show us that God is love,
And show us that God is love.
4.We’ve a Savior to show to the nations
Who the path of sorrow hath trod,
That all of the world’s great peoples
Might come to the truth of God,
And show us that God is love.
© 2016 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
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