When Words Fail...

Vaniz   |   August 31, 2021 

All of us, nearly every day, either benefit through words spoken kindly to us or experience pain due to words used harshly and carelessly against us.

The Bible has many references to the powerful impact of the spoken word –

“A soothing tongue is a tree of life” Proverbs 15:4

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” Proverbs 16:24

“The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream” Proverbs 18:4

"Like apples of gold in settings of silver
is a ruling rightly given.
Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time
is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him;
he refreshes the spirit of his master.” Proverbs 25: 11 – 13

In the past few months, circumstances have been such, that I have found myself at a loss for words very often. Words to comfort, to encourage, to edify, to strengthen - to just say something in times of need. Silence has been the closest best option. Actions do speak louder than words and there have been ways to demonstrate love, support and care to alleviate the pain without speaking vain, unsure words. Yet the pregnant silence is noticeably profound when I am with families in their time of distress.

There are friends who have lost their jobs and are still in queue to find the next fitting opportunity. Friends grieving from the unexpected, sudden, untimely demise of family members. Some are struggling to keep up with paying school fees for their children or medical expenses and meeting daily needs due to salary cuts. Those who have been unable to visit old parents living in a different country and simply worried for them. Those whose feelings have just been numbed because of the continued crisis.

It was at this time that I stumbled upon Psalm 20 and took notice of the beautiful words – words that I have been totally at a loss for.

Psalm 20 reads -

“May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.”

The psalmist is not giving vain hope, nor speaking prosperity promises nor crying in despair without hope. This is in a setting of distress and the psalmist is sure that there is only one place from where help comes from and that is from the Lord.

One does not have to expect help from one’s spouse, parents, wealthy siblings, employer or the government. It is not our bank balance, mutual fund investments, insurance plan,  doctors or our job that offers protection, but the name of God. It is God who can grant the desire of our heart and make our plans succeed, not our worldly bosses, our priests, business partners, good luck charms or even the ruler of the country.

The psalmist speaks from a heart of complete surrender to the Provider and with faith in God, who alone can answer, protect and grant the desires of the heart. The psalmist seems to recognise that the help that comes from the world could be limited and can dry up with time. But God’s supply is capable to take care of all our needs, nourishing our body and soul.

Towards the end, the chapter concludes with a prayer to God to grant victory to the king, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

In times of need, it is to Him we can look to and also point our loved ones to. Even when we don’t find the right words to speak, we can pray this prayer from Psalm 20 for someone - trusting the Lord who is powerful and able to bless, protect and provide.


Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

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Hi, Nice to e-meet you :)! I'm a student of life, a child of God and a person who loves to celebrate the simple joys of creation. There is love and beauty in everything around us only if we have the eyes to see it. Though I'm imperfect, and inconsistent, I've learnt that God sees our availability more than our ability, He calls and He qualifies. I'm a full time HR professional, mother of two children and love music and the rain.

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