It was the third time that someone spoke the words to me. “You’ve lost your voice.” It wasn’t a laryngitis-type losing, though, for which some might have mumbled a hearty AMEN. (Anyone who has been in my kitchen when I’m singing at the top of my lungs might have uttered some words of gratitude at a forced silence, or high-fived each other when my back was turned.)
No, it was a cowering-in-shame kinda silence. A brokenness silence. An I’ve-nothing-worth-sharing silence. An I’ve-been-trusting-in-self-more-than-God kinda silence.
It was an I’m-too-busy-eating-grass-to-write kind of silence. (Yes, I’m from Colorado and no, I’m not referring to that kind of grass!)
See, like Nebuchadnezzar, I thought I was God, My face burns at the thought that I could ever think or act that way, but deep examinations of our thought life reveal the belief behind behavior. I had been hiding because I had taken on things that I ultimately had no control over, and when they didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, well, I felt broken.
For those who aren’t familiar with the story of Nebuchadnezzar, he was a powerful and wealthy king of Babylon. On a couple of occasions, the prophet Daniel interpreted dreams for the king. (Daniel 2, Daniel 4). And Nebuchadnezzar appeared to come to a place where he worshiped the God of Israel. After God miraculously rescued Daniel’s tribe from the fiery furnace, the king says this in Daniel 3:28-29: ”
“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God.
Therefore, I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.”
He continues on, “It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me. How great are His signs. And how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and His dominion is from generation to generation.
Yeah, the king seemed to know who God was, what God was able to do.
Yet, it was way too easy for him to slip back into beliefs about his own abilities, what he himself was capable of.
‘Cause the truth is, knowing something is a whole lot different, and a whole lot easier than actually living it out.
The king had another dream that seemed to plague him.
And because he knew Daniel had the wisdom that only comes from the Holy Spirit of God, he wanted Daniel – whom he’d renamed Belteshazzar – to interpret the dream.
Daniel was a little, uh, apprehensive about giving the interpretation. He was, for a time, afraid of speaking truth to the king. He was fearful because the interpretation wasn’t a pretty one, and well, the king was a rather brutal one, with power to end Daniel’s life. (A good message to me that speaking the truth isn’t always an easy thing, a popular thing, or a palatable thing.)
Daniel told the king that he would go mad. He would go mad because he needed to learn some lessons about who God was, and that He (God) was the one ultimately in control. The powerful leader would live in the fields and eat grass like a cow.
It all came to pass, King Neb took credit for things that were really the result of God’s hand on his life and found himself outcast from everything familiar to him. He became like a cow. Instead of the opulent delicacies he was used to, he was in the fields, eating grass.
He. Was. Eating. Grass.
He’d forgotten who he was, who God was, and lost his place in life.
Isn’t that how it goes, sometimes?
We have amazing victories, are sure we know the truth, will never flounder again, heave a huge-sigh-of-relief because we have come to a place where we know God.
And then our world is upside down, we are floundering, we are eating grass, stuck in some mode of depression or addiction, or have a fall that causes the wind to be knocked out of us. We’re in a place that feels like madness, all because we forgot.
There is only one capital K King
We take credit – or blame – for something that really didn’t belong to us.
I’ve been in that place for a couple of years. In a dry, dessert terrain, a foreigner feeling like a failure, thinking I have no place to share the goodness of God, because my life isn’t all Face Book Perfection. Choking down straw-like grass.
Yeah, I’d lost my voice, been struck mute like Zechariah, because I trusted in self more than in God.
I kept falling back on my pompous thought that I can rescue or save people, that I can turn someone into a believer. That I can heal. I cannot.
All I can do is live out my life of faith, do what God calls me to do, and praise Him through whatever the results may be.
Messy? For sure. Predictable? Never. A strenuous hill to climb? Some days.
But the joy is mine when I let God be God, and Marie be who He created her to be rather than vice versus.
Like King Neb, I can say my sanity has returned. (I know, I know…some of you may debate that statement.) I’ve lifted my eyes, away from my expectations, and see His Hand. Once again joy explodes.
“And at the end of the time, I Nebuchadnezzar (and Marie-Ellen), lifted my eyes to heaven and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever.” -Daniel 4:34 NKJV
Grateful for the joy,
Marie-Ellen with a 🙂