This is what my friend replied in response to my suggestion that he write a letter to express his frustration and displeasure about how the church is handling one of its difficult current issues.
He’s an extremely bright, critical thinker and has a particular gift for written expression. I could do nothing to change or effect the issues he was writing to me about — except to pray for our church and its leaders and him, which I already do. He has strong opinions and questions and a desire to engage on the subject. So, I suggested he write and share his thoughts.
“Word are cheap,” he said in reply.
I have not yet responded to his dismissal, Father. But, I feel You are bit by bit giving me the words to say to him. Help me, if it’s Your will, to tell him how powerful our words are — all of them — and how crucial they can be, when they are speaking Your truth.
Words have power. My friend’s not wrong that some words can come cheap: Throw-away lines; thoughtless sarcasm; words that cut and are cruel, mean-spirited and malicious. Words can slander and mislead. They can give aid and comfort to the Father of Lies, who seeks to separate and divide us from one another and Our Lord, Your Word made flesh.
But, Father, You breathed our world into existence. Your words spoke us into creation. You sent Jesus Christ, Your Word made flesh, to us to help our humanity come to understand and develop right relationship with Your divinity.
With a few words You called a little girl back from death; Lazarus, too. And You calmed the storm and the fears of Your disciples when they were at sea.
You calm us, too, whenever we turn to You during the storms of our own lives. With only three words of love from my own angel when she said, “Don’t be afraid,” You calmed my fears and walked with me step by step as I was threatened and assaulted by a (ill-advised) hitchhiker. [Read the whole story here.]
Words are powerful. Words that speak Your truth can be the seeds necessary to speak to souls, to help change lives. We may never understand their influence on others. We may not get to see the changes in them or experience the fruits of words You’ve given us to plant — Thy Will be done in Your Time to Your Purpose.
But even if words speaking Your truth never find a welcome home in others, they nonetheless strengthen our own spirit and understanding. These words are not cheap or hollow or void of meaning and value. They go out, then they come back to us with on-going blessing.
When You call us to be Your own — when You choose us, Father — You promise to give us the right words — Your words — and then You choose how and when to bless them and help them to grow.
You commission us to act here on earth as Your body — ears, eyes, arms, hands, voice. And just as Your voice spoke our world into creation at the beginning, You place the divinity of Your Holy Spirit in us to speak and so to act with You — to plant seeds, to help light a fire for You in others.
Whether the fire takes hold in them or dies is not our concern, only Yours, Father.
So be it. Your will be done.