Power in the Voice
written by Rev Gary Heard

Sitting in front of a computer while it types what you dictate is unique experience. Never before has my voice commanded so much. Every word is taken in, assessed, and translated into type. In so many other settings, while I would like to believe that my voice carried important messages, it seems that I may as well be silent for all the response that it brings. But in this process, my voice is the only thing that the computer is giving its attention to.

We all like to believe that we are powerful to a greater or lesser degree. We like being in control, directing events or circumstances towards the best possible outcome. In reality our voice is merely one amidst a cacophony of voices all competing for attention and all seeking to exercise some degree of power. The impotence of our voice is perhaps no better demonstrated than when we try to direct the child who is deeply engrossed in some activity. If our voice is heard at all it is unlikely that what we say will be processed and acted upon. As I sit in front of the computer dictating this, that seems a world away. The illusion of power is held for a moment - at least until I turn my attention towards other tasks.

But let us not underestimate the power our voice has to destroy and to build up. We have all (sadly) experienced the cutting words of another, tearing us apart. Most of us have experienced the strength given through encouraging words. When our voice is not heard, it is tempting to release its destructive power, if only to assert our place or our presence. Sometimes our voice has more power then we give it credit - a reality we often recognise only too late.

Consider also the voice of God, immensely powerful. It was by his word that the world was created. Jesus spoke and the waves became still. God spoke and the earth shook. The psalmist reminds us that God speaks continually: “The mighty one, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.” Yet how often do we go for days without discerning God's voice? The most powerful voice of all, and yet ignored by us.

Jesus said: My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. Do we hear the voice of God? Is our heart and a mind attuned to his direction? In a world of competing sounds and images or clamouring for our attention, the voice of God can be drowned out if we fail to give him due attention.

Today if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts (Heb 3:7, 15, 4:7)

January 27, 2002
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