The Sound of Silence

It may well be true that God sometimes speaks with a "still small voice"--but that simply will not do for the preacher. I have to have a voice strong and loud enough to be heard. With so much confusion and noise in today's world, it seems that the louder and clearer the better.

And that's been my problem this week. A cold led to laryngitis and over the weekend I had absolutely no voice at all. I kept hoping it would get better, but on Saturday I threw in the towel and texted Reed Bernick to ask him to fill in for me on Sunday. Twenty-four hours later I joined the online congregation at 11 o'clock and heard the excellent sermon he came up with.

Earlier in the morning I "stream"-worshiped with First Baptist, Richmond, and heard a fine message from my friend, Jim Somerville, too.

It's been lonely around the house these days, with Audrey gone on her mission trip to Austria. She checks in with me by video chat every day, though, and I'm glad to report that their trip has been a remarkable success. The team heads home tomorrow night.

I don't really feel bad--I just can't communicate. Not only from the pulpit, but also on the phone and even face to face, nose to nose (if anybody dare to get that close). Yesterday I walked out onto my deck and saw my neighbor on his, across the yard. I quickly went back inside before he saw me. He would have called out a greeting as he usually does, and I would have seemed extremely arrogant and rude to just stare.

This sickness hasn't been a waste of time, though. I've spent these days finishing up all of the half-read books that have been strewn across my desk and atop my nightstand. I'm totally caught up on my reading now. And I'm finally getting my money's worth from NETFLIX, too. (OK-- some waste of time there!) A couple of friends have brought meals by, and that is much appreciated. Then, there's always UberEats!

My primary doctor is swamped right now and could not see me until next week, so I went by the INOVA Emergency Care yesterday and spent the morning with the fine folks over there. I was low priority, of course, and I understand that. Like I usually do, I recommended to the nurses that they watch comedian Brian Regan's comedy bit on YouTube, "The Emergency Room."

So they told me what I already knew: I have Sinusitis and laryngitis, and I got some medication for it. The main suggestion was gargling with warm salt water and getting lots of rest. No talking for a while, either. Silence. The doctor gave me a "note" to be excused from work until Friday-- but I'm not sure who to give it to. Actually, I feel better already and should be back in the office by tomorrow.

You may have noticed that I usually have some trouble like this in the spring or fall (some coughing and hoarseness when preaching), and it's been that way all of my life. But the only other time the laryngitis was this total was back in October, 2016. Then, as now, I felt humbled and totally dependent. I determined to not take my health for granted. Even to enjoy the quiet a bit.

With less noise about, I have even been able to hear God's “still, small voice” a little better. An occupational hazard we preachers have (one of them, that is) is that we spend so much time talking we do too little listening.

Right now, I am all ears!
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