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When God Is Silent

When God Is Silent

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I Don’t Know What to Say…

It’s Tuesday. I’m sitting at my desk writing the bulletin article for Sunday.
By the time you read this, I’ll likely already have preached the message. But,
right now, I don’t know what I’m going to say. I don’t know what I’m going
to preach.

Some weeks, I come in on Monday knowing exactly what I’m going to speak
on the next weekend. Other weeks, it’s an agonizing struggle that isn’t
resolved in some way until Thursday, or even later. Some weeks God gives
me what I believe He wants me to say right away, then other times it’s a
confusing journey to the end and I’m still not sure when I get done preaching
if that was it.

Ever have that happen? Not struggling to know what to preach, but knowing
what to say?

Something I heard frequently in my dad’s illness and death was people trying
to express their sorrow for us but ending with, “I don’t know what to say…”
Sometimes, there are no words. Sometimes, we don’t know what to say and
that’s a good thing because maybe there isn’t anything to say. Another
common scenario I hear people making this statement with is sharing the
gospel. “I don’t know what I’d say to them,” so we just don’t. Unfortunately
however, unlike grief where it is appropriate at times not to say anything,
that’s not an option with the gospel. We don’t get that choice. The Great
Commission was given to everyone, whether or not you’re a preacher.
So, what do we say? What should we do in moments where words fail us
and we get nervous or feel awkward? We talked this past week about
“making it count”—“it” being the opportunities we have for sharing the
gospel with others. Jesus knew his disciples would feel the same way (after
all, they were pretty scared guys and didn’t even hang around when Jesus
got arrested in the Garden). So, Jesus told them: “…do not be anxious about
how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit
will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:12)

The Holy Spirit will give us the words. Sometimes, it’s more important that
we step forward and say something, than shrink back in fear thinking we
don’t know what to say. If God will give you the opportunity, He’ll give you
the words for it.

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