It’s never happened to me before, but last month I had to cancel a preaching engagement because I lost my voice. I’d spent the previous day speaking at the SWYM Youth Leaders training event (see below) whilst contending with a sore throat and cough.

By the evening, my voice was all but a whisper – and it was not much better when I woke the following Sunday morning after a very disrupted night’s sleep!

I was due to be interviewed at Christ Church Woodbury in the morning and then speak at a youth event in Hemel Hempstead in the evening. I knew that my voice would never cope with the youth event and so, with great regret, I contacted the organisers and bowed out.

But the leader of the church at Woodbury agreed that we could still give the interview ‘a go’ if I was up for it, hoping that a good microphone would enable everybody to hear me – in spite of my whispery voice.

As the service started and the worship began I started to feel a sense of impending doom. I didn’t even try to sing as I simply had no voice. Instead, I tried to wholeheartedly mime along, trying to look enthusiastic despite inwardly fearing that once the interview began someone from the back would shout ‘I can’t hear him – what’s he saying???”

Unsurprisingly, I find that prayer comes very naturally in moments like these and so as the service continued, I threw up the following arrow prayer to Heaven…

“God, I am weak, tired, I’ve got no voice – bar a whisper – and I’m just about to share my learnings from the most difficult time in my life. This feels really important! It would be awesome if you could give me a HUGE hand here. I’d love to not just ‘get through this’ but see you move in power and encouragement through my story.”

What followed was one of the most beautiful, vulnerable, sacred moments where I’ve ever spoken – kindly led and interviewed by my dear brother in the faith, Paul Friend.

As I whispered the story of how God held me close in the greatest storm of my life, everyone in the house physically and emotionally ‘leaned forward’ – maybe spiritually too. It was a moving time – with my whisper tones sometimes broken with unexpected tearful emotion.

The experience reminded me of these famous words from the Apostle Paul, who was crying out to God about his own struggles when he sensed God whisper back the following reply…

“My grace is enough for you.
When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.”
So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses.
Then Christ’s power can live in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Yes, God’s grace is sufficient. And yes, God’s power is perfected in our weakness!

I’ve experienced both time and time again. God is never interested in how strong I am – he’s interested in how weak I am. Because when I come to Him in weakness, then I give Him space to move and be strong. If I think I’m already strong enough – then I risk not turning to Him at all.

So let me ask you today – are you weak enough for God to use you?

Someone once said, “God sends no one away empty, except those who are already full of themselves.”

Let’s come to ’empty’ to the One alone who fills us with His all-consuming love and power – who alone is the source of all life and hope.