Eight days after I woke up squeaking and sputtering air instead of greeting the start of a new day with my normal cheerful voice . . . (okay, maybe I don’t wake up like Cinderella, singing to birds with a smile ever morning) . . . but still, eight days after I woke up and couldn’t talk, I still sound like an alien in my own body.
My voice scratches a bit and I’ve taken a step down from a normal alto range into a definitive tenor.
Still, it’s an improvement. I can sit and hold a conversation with friends. I read about ten books to my toddler this morning while she sat on the potty. I can call out to my older girls reminders to “Be nice. Don’t be unkind. Stop being nasty to each other. If you can’t get along, I’m going to pack up your game so you can’t play.”
These are important and necessary skills for me, a busy wife and mom and friend. Today, I’m thankful for the voice I have, scratchy and low as it is, because the essential truth is I’m no longer voice-less.
And there are others who never feel that freedom. Some people never seem to gain a voice, not after years of anguished pleas. Not after infant’s tears in a forlorn and overlooked makeshift bed, crying out to an unresponsive mama or parents that simply aren’t there.
Living one week without a voice reminded me that there are some people who are perpetually voiceless. No amount of cough drops, hot tea with lemon and honey, or throat spray is going to tune the world into the sound of their need.
Our God, though, is a hearer of silenced cries. When Bartimaeus, a blind beggar sitting hopeless by a roadside, yelled out to Jesus as he passed by, the crowd tried to hush him up. “They rebuked him, telling him to be silent” (Mark 10:47).
What could Jesus care for a blind beggar? Why stop and heal someone so clearly overlooked by every . . . other . . . person.
Refusing to be silenced, though, Bartimaeus screamed louder and Jesus stopped the mob of fawning followers so he could listen to a man in need.
“What do you want me to do for you?” That’s all Jesus asked. That’s all he needed to ask in order to assure a blind beggar that finally someone had heard his cry for help. Bartimaeus, voiceless no longer, presented his clear and simple request: “Rabbi, let me recover my sight” (Mark 10:51)
More than just a miracle of sight for a blind man occurred there that day. It was the miracle of God hearing the pleas of a voiceless one amidst a noisy crowd.
In the same way, when a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years ducked her head in shameful desperation and slipped into the crowd surrounding Jesus, she was a voiceless one. Her society and culture, the laws of her faith, declared her unclean. Unfit for human contact. Unable to live among her people. Cut off from public worship.
In faith, she ran her hand along the hem of Jesus’ robe, trusting that the tiniest touch could heal her.
Jesus could have let her slip away from the crowd unnoticed. No need for her to risk discovery in a mob who thought her very presence would taint them and stain their purity.
But he didn’t. Jesus gave voice to the voiceless. He asked, “Who touched me” and waited for her to speak up, to declare her presence and give testimony. It was as if he was telling her, “You haven’t just received physical healing. You are welcome in this place. These people need to hear what you have to say. No more sneaking into a crowd and then slipping out the back.”
Even she recognized the impact of Jesus’ question, realizing “that she was not hidden” (Luke 8:47). No, not hidden anymore. Instead, “trembling, and falling down before him (she) declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him”
It was likely her first act of public worship and her first unashamed speech in 12 years.
Don’t you love this about our Lord? That He hears when no one else will hear? That His passion and heart are for the neediest and weakest among us? That He’s given us a voice and He listens when we call for Him?
This is His character.
More than that, this is supposed to be the character of his people.
In the book of Nehemiah, this cup-bearer to a foreign King, a man with responsibility and high position, asked his brother for reports about his homeland and the people who had returned to Jerusalem.
Kelly Minter in Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break notes this about Nehemiah’s character: “He wanted to know. Sometimes I shield myself from finding out what’s really going on with people for fear I’ll be held responsible. Because with information often comes responsibility; if we know, we might be required to do something”(p. 13).
We may want to remain blind and deaf to need, but Nehemiah wanted to know. And when he heard about the state of his people, he responded with prayer and action.
All because he served a God who hears and cares about those with no voice. We serve that same God—do we hear and care?
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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King