Let me step back for a moment because when I sat down to write today, I did not know that is what I was going to say. I was thinking about many times when not knowing what to say has held me back from doing God’s will. That I felt I needed all the perfect words laid out in front of me before I could begin to speak and that is when God gave this scripture to me. I didn’t understand how it fit really because I wanted to write about speaking and the verse is more about listening. Then as I began to type, I felt like my eyes were opened: quick to listen.
Yesterday as I was at the Laundromat, a young man walked in with a cast on his foot and I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray for him; for healing for his foot and for forgiveness. The message played over in my mind as I thought: but I don’t know what to say, how would I start this conversation, what will he think of me saying I am praying for his forgiveness. The moment passed by slowly and quickly all at the same time until he walked out the door. How do I describe that moment when you feel like: God I’ve asked you to use me and then I didn’t do what you’ve showed me to do. I asked for His forgiveness and within minutes He showed me yet another stranger only instead of asking for praying for healing, He prompted me to witness to her and invite her to church. My first thought was: really God so fast, no time to breathe after letting the last guy walk out. This was followed by the same thought as before; what do I say? Except this time I couldn’t bear the thought of her walking out and me left asking for God to forgive me again. I searched for something, anything to strike up a conversation, but my tongue was locked in my mouth. This is when I wanted to just think about the part of scripture that says to be slow to speak. I can be slow to speak, that’s easy, but I was being called to speak and so finally looking for anything, I asked her if she needed to use the laundry basket (there is only one and I was using it). I wasn’t sure how that was going to go anywhere but God was able to use that simple question and turn it into an hour long conversation that lasted until after we were both done doing our laundry and just talking about what God was doing in our lives and eventually inviting her to church. This time instead of her walking away and me asking God to forgive me, I walked away with a joy in my heart knowing that I had allowed God to use me and it felt amazing.
After I left, I reflected back to different times in my life that I either spoke or didn’t speak as the Holy Spirit prompted me to do. When I didn’t speak it was because I felt like I didn’t have the words to say and when I did speak, still I didn’t have the words to say. I realized I had been waiting around for the perfect words planted in my brain ahead of time before opening my mouth and yet the words didn’t come but when I stepped out in faith and began to act, everything that I needed was there.
When you are “quick to listen”, God gives you everything you need, including the words to speak.