While the blind men lined up along the sides of the road, crying out to Jesus for sight, at least one man did no crying out at all. He was the dumb man, or today, we might call him "mute" (lest anyone mistake what "dumb" means). But perhaps we can imagine him frantically waving his hands, doing everything he could - without a voice - to get the attention of the passing Jesus.
Jesus knows without him saying it what he wants - he wants to be able to speak.
Like so many of us, this man wanted to have a voice in his world. He wanted to be able to join in on important discussions. He wanted to contribute to the community dialogue. He wanted to handle his own transactions more easily in the marketplace. Maybe he wanted to tell a young woman that he loves her. Maybe he wanted to say the same to his parents.
Having a voice in dramatically important. Most of us take for granted how easy it is for us to speak. We take for granted all of the things that having a functional tongue makes possible for us. Most of us have never imagined what it might be like to not be able to speak, except perhaps if we have had too sore of a throat for a day or two. But this man wasn't sick; he was fully well, feeling fully well (not puny). He simply couldn't speak.
We come closest to understanding how the dumb man felt not when our throat is sore or our voice hoarse, but when we see something in the world that breaks our heart or riles our righteous anger, and we are powerless to do anything about it. When we want to say something, but for whatever reason, we can't.
When we want to speak, but our voice feels too weak.
This happens to us all the time. At least, it happens to me all the time. There are brokennesses in this world that I can't help but notice, things I can't help but see. There are moments when I walk away and kick myself, wondering why I didn't say anything. Wondering what I would have said if I had. Wondering if that would have made a difference at all, if it would have mattered.
As we face a world that is not what it is supposed to be, not what God created it to be, we are often confronted with our smallness. With our powerlessness. With the feeling that we ought to say something, but...who are we to speak?
We, like the dumb man, wave our hands frantically, trying to get Jesus's attention, begging Him to touch our lips and give us something to say. Give us the ability to speak. Give us words that matter. Lord Jesus, we want to speak life.
All it takes is a single touch from the God who walks among us.
The God who is Immanuel.
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