I have been silent lately. My vocal cords are damaged (nodules), probably due in part to reflux (which is probably due in part to stress). Since I’m not supposed to talk, I have been blogging about my struggles. (At my last ENT appointment, the doctor said speaking softly (but not whispering) is probably OK, so I’m speaking a bit more these days, but I still recently canceled 5 speaking engagements for Oct.)
In part one of the series, I concluded by asking, “Does sin cause illness?” In part two, I concluded by asking, “What lessons does God teach us through sickness?”
In response to the Part 2 question, here are a few lessons that God is teaching me through this crisis.
1) One of the most difficult biblical commands is, “Be slow to speak” (James 1:19). James tells everyone to be slow to speak and quick to listen, but so much of who we are comes out as we speak. Not speaking has really been brutal (particularly as I’m trying to process everything going on), but it has helped me obey James. That’s good.
2) Sometimes Yes/No questions are good. In the past, I denigrated, insulted, even ridiculed Y/N questions (since they shut down conversation), but of late Y/N questions have been my friend. I can answer them without speaking. I now have a deeper appreciation for Y/N questions. That’s good.
3) People with disabilities have it hard. Yes, I know compassionate people have known this for a long time, but my experience of a very slight disability has given more appreciation for how difficult would be to have a serious disability. That’s good.
4) Words don’t need to be spoken. As I struggled to figure out how to communicate what’s going on, I thought about the apostle Paul as he was stuck in prison. He couldn’t visit churches, but he could still communicate with letters. Fortunately, we now have those letters in our Bible. Would we have been deprived of those letters had he not been “silenced” by his jail cell? Perhaps. So, now I write more emails to friends and family. That’s good. (Although, my emails probably won’t get added to the Bible.)
5) Prayer can happen without spoken words. Yes, I know this also is obvious, but speaking less to people, has pushed me to speak more to God. Even though I can’t talk to people, I can pray for them. That’s very good.