The Voice that Will Not Be Silenced
I have a very dear friend who actually knew Martyn Lloyd Jones and sat under his ministry while he attended school in London. His wife told me that she remembered when he received the final volume of Iain Murray’s biography of Lloyd-Jones (It is in two parts). He immediately sat down to read it. She told me that when she descended the steps and entered the kitchen the next morning, she found him at the table weeping. He apparently had been up all through the night reading. She asked, ‘Why are you crying dear?’ He answered, ‘because there is no more.’
I understood exactly the feeling as she related the story. There are people who make a profound difference in our lives as they minister to us. We have heard their voice and perhaps even read their encouraging words that point us to the truth of the gospel. And when they are gone, and the voice is silent, you long for more.
I just had a recent experience when I read David Powlison’s last book. He died in June of this year. Powlison’s article on ‘Idols of the Heart’ introduced me to Biblical counseling. He has been a voice of reason in how I conduct my ministry. And though, I never met him, I had occasion to hear him in public and heard personal testimony from others on how he treated them. He seemed to be of sterling character. I found myself slightly melancholy when I realized I would no longer be taught by this great man of God.
As I thought about this, I realized it is good to mourn those saints whose voices are now silent. I know that the combination of gospel truth and a life lived rightly are rare. It is the reason that we trust these voices, because they are living out the truth they teach. Yet, when I come back to it and fear that I may never hear them again, I begin to realize it was not really their voice I was hearing, but the Holy Spirit’s as he used them to teach me the word of God. They were (as Paul David Tripp terms it) ‘Instruments in the Redeemers Hands.’
Yes, I know I will see these saints in heaven … someday. They are eternal beings. But it was never really their voice that drew me. It was God’s. It was Christ in them the hope of glory. Therefore, I am comforted, that while they are gone, the voice that spoke through them will never be silent. Never will he leave me, never will he forsake me. The word of God endures forever.
This thanksgiving, I am so thankful for the body of Christ. The Lord uses you to speak truth to me. I am so very grateful for your ministry to my family, but most of all to me. And it is because of the gift of the church, His voice will never be silent.