DayBreaks for 12/13/17: When Words Don’t Come
From the DayBreaks archive, December 2007:
You’ve heard of writer’s block – when a writer just can’t think of what to write. Although it would be a long stretch to call myself a writer, I can identify with that syndrome! Here’s a news flash for you: preachers get it, too, but I call it “preacher’s block.” It’s what happens when the week is spinning by like an altimeter on a nose-down jet – and you just can’t seem to find the inspiration or words for the message on the coming Sunday. You start to sweat, you shift uneasily in the chair, you wander a hallway or two as if you’ll find inspiration there. Sometimes, it even works. Do you want to know when I have the greatest trouble with “preacher’s block”? It’s at Christmas. For me, Christmas sermons are the toughest of all.
Words and inspiration can come from the strangest of places – after all, if God could speak through a donkey to Balaam, He can certainly bring inspiration from any corner He chooses. But sometimes we are just plain fearful – fearful that when we’re confronted with a challenge to our faith, that we won’t have the words. So, we keep our mouths shut.
How should we react then? Remember the story of Moses – how he questioned God’s wisdom in choosing him because of his slowness with words? Paul, the greatest missionary the world has ever seen, was a lot like Moses. He said he didn’t come to the Corinthians “proclaiming…in lofty words or wisdom”, but rather “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:1-5) Where was Paul’s confidence? Was it in his own words and ability to speak them? No, it was that God was speaking with him, giving life to the words that Paul did speak.
When you think about it, Moses and Paul were two of the people most responsible for the writing of the Word of God. Both were weak with words. God chose them precisely BECAUSE they were weak with words! That weakness made it so that they might have a greater chance of clinging tightly to God who spoke in union with and to them so that they might speak what the hearers needed to hear in order to be drawn to God. Paul and Moses seemed to suffer from “apologist’s block” in their own person – not trusting in what they had to say. As a result, they didn’t trust in themselves, but in God. And that’s just what God loved about them!
When you are given the opportunity to talk with someone about Jesus, to share your faith, do you take advantage of it? If you find yourself in that position, it’s because God has chosen YOU to represent Him at that moment in time. If you find or fear you have “apologist’s block” – good! Just don’t let it stop you from talking to that person anyway. Whisper a little prayer inside your head, aim it heavenward, and ask God to electrify what you say with His power.
PRAYER: Father, give us Your words to speak. Thank you for making us weak in our own selves so we will lean on You, for Your words hold the power of life! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.