How often are our tongues silent because of limited faith or fear?
When the angel, Gabriel, appeared to Zechariah, to tell him that his prayer had been answered and his wife would bear him a son who was to be named John, Zechariah asked, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” After explaining that he was God’s messenger, Gabriel said, “And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens because you did not believe my words.” (Luke 1:11-20)
Zechariah could not speak until the time of John’s circumcision when his speech returned and he confirmed that the baby should be named John instead of a name more familiar to the family. Luke reports, “His tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God.” (Luke 1:64)
How often are our tongues rendered silent because our faith is not strong enough to believe that God is acting in a given situation? How often do we fail to speak up for fear of what others think? How often do we fail to offer to pray with someone for fear of being rejected?
Weakness of faith and fear disables our tongues from being used by God to further his will and purpose.
While there have been times when my faith has not been as strong as it should be, there have also been times when I would ask God what he wanted me to do and then sought to do it.
A few years ago my wife took a phone message from a former secretary. Her message was that she had cancer and experienced a stroke, and sounded like she wanted to say goodbye before she died.
Her name was Marilyn and she had been my secretary more than 30 years earlier. When I returned her call she told me about all of her medical difficulties and that she was confined to a wheel chair. She said she was calling people who had impacted her life. She recalled how I had encouraged her to go back to college and get a degree, which opened the door to her advancing in her career with our company, Mobil Corporation.
While she was talking I asked God what he wanted me to say to her. “Pray with her,” was the response. So, I asked her if I could pray with her. She said that she didn’t used to believe in God or go to temple and pray, but now she did. Mindful that she was Jewish, I prayed to the Father that he would bless her and heal her of the effects of her cancer and stroke. She offered her “Amen.” I finished our conversation by saying, “Marilyn, I want you to call me back when you stand up from that wheel chair and start walking.”
About six months later I received another call from her. “Mr. Dalgetty, you told me to call you back when I could walk free of that wheel chair. Well, here I am, walking.”