Here’s what I mean.
Recently I suffered from an unexpected bout of laryngitis. I had picked up a nasty viral infection and it went into my throat. So one morning I woke up and had no voice. None. It was a shock and more than a bit upsetting since my voice is essentially my life. As a pastor, coach, father and husband my ability to communicate is my lifeblood. And it was taken away from me. The first couple of days I was very spiritual about it, praying and seeking the Lord to bring healing. The next couple of days I tried everything I knew to get it back. Then I went to the internet looking for solutions, then I asked people for their home remedies. And I tried all of them as well. And still I had no voice.
By this point I’d already had to have someone cover for me to preach on Sunday at the last minute (thanks Patrick!!), other coaches to fill in to coach my athletes and I was resorting to writing notes to my family. If that was not bad enough, a little voice started to whisper to me (no pun intended): ‘what if this is permanent? There’s no guarantee you’ll ever get your voice back.’ And now suddenly this became a major test of faith for me.
My voice did come back eventually. Now just past three weeks it’s not 100% yet but it’s getting there. But more importantly for me I’ve been able to resume teaching, coaching and talking to people. Something that I once took for granted I now see as a precious gift and I am so thankful for it. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that I was able to start talking at Thanksgiving. It certainly has taken on new meaning for me. Paul wrote, “For our light and momentary problems are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor.4:17). I do hope in the end I’m glorifying God through this ordeal.
So what did I learn (and am learning!) from this whole test? It’s way easier to give help then to accept help. I’m in the helping business so I do it a lot. But boy was it hard to have to let people do things for me. Paul said, “When I am weak then I am strong.” (2 Cor.12:10) How could Paul say that? Because he remembered Jesus saying “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor.12:9). And there I found it. In my weakness I experienced even more of God’s power and His grace. In my weakness I began to see things I hadn’t before and that turned out to be pretty special.
Henry Ward Beecher said, “Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.” I can see that because this has changed me. I’ve learned to listen better and to find joy in simple things while not taking these simple things for granted. Would I want to go through this again? Absolutely not. But I am joyful for the chance to experience what I did.
Is silence golden? I’m not sure about that but I do know there is joy in silence. I hope you can find it too!