One of the most popular sayings people use today when they experience something beautiful or even horrific is composed of only two words. I find the short, profound confession on Instagram and Facebook very often. It’s usually paired with a picture or maybe a news story. So when I read “NO WORDS” I get it. What could anyone possibly add to the moment that would accurately describe it better?
Sometimes, my wife and I have some of our deepest conversations when we walk our neighborhood in the evening. We’ve worked hard, our stomachs are settled after supper, and we just need some time to go outside and reflect on life.
We keep a fast pace going up hills and down them, passing houses, and waving to neighbors. But if I’m not talkative, Gina will look over at me and say, “You’re rather quiet tonight.”
The funny thing is, many times, she tells me I need to play “the quiet mouse game” when I’m loud and wordy, full of myself. However, it’s a known fact that women speak more words than men. Some fact keepers report that women speak 16,215 words a day, but men only speak 15,669 words daily. Is that why wise ol’ Solomon wrote, “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” (Proverbs 10:19, NLT)
But what if you want to express yourself, but can’t? “A story is told about the great composer Beethoven, a man not known for social grace. His deafness made conversation difficult and humiliating for him. When he learned of the death of a friend’s son, Beethoven, overcome with grief, hurried to the griever’s home. He had no words of comfort to offer. But he saw a piano in the room, and went to it. For the next half hour he played the piano, pouring out his emotions in the most expressive way he knew. After he had finished playing, he left. The friend later remarked that no one else’s visit had meant so much.” (Yancey, Where is God when it hurts?)
Sometimes, it seems like I use the same words over and over when I talk to God. It’s a fight keeping that relationship fresh, and not robotic. Any relationship requires work. Going through the motions has a way of slowly killing the soul.
That’s why I love reading and memorizing scripture, because I learn new things about God, which I praise Him for in prayer. And if I struggle expressing myself, I pull out my journal and miraculously find the words that describe what is at the core of what I’m experiencing.
But then again, the shock value of a situation you’ve never walked through before can rob you of the very words you grasp for as you try to talk to God about it. I wonder if Paul experienced it, which led him to write, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26, NIV)
Why not get alone with God and just be quiet. Don’t fret if the words don’t come. Let the Spirit make the first move. In one chair He waits. The other one is for you.
pictures courtesy of pexels.com and “Nelson & his Nikon”.